When I took stock of my refrigerator the other day I noticed I had quite a bit of miscellaneous cheese hanging out waiting to be eaten. I don’t know why I ended up with three half blocks of cheese, but I thought that was as good of an excuse as any to make some Cheesy Garlic Bread. Plus I haven’t had pizza in for-ev-er and cheesy garlic bread is basically just like cheese pizza with the sauce served on the side, right? Right.
I did do one thing differently for this Cheesy Garlic Bread than I would for cheese pizza, and that was to bake it at a slightly lower temperature. I wanted my Cheesy Garlic Bread to stay soft and fluffy, so I baked it slightly lower and slower to give the dough time to puff up in the oven. When baking at a super high pizza temperature (like 450ºF) the dough tends to crisp up and get crunchy on the outside before it has a chance to really get lofty. So, I lowered the temp just a smidge to 375ºF.
Normally I’d use full-fat mozzarella for anything pizza related because it’s rich and has a wonderful “pull” when it’s melted. But, since I was trying to use up cheese I already had, I used a mix between a really buttery Mexican cheese (that tasted a lot like Monterey Jack) and cheddar. They don’t stay quite as soft as mozz when baked, but it was still super delicious. I also used a scant 1 Tbsp grated Parmesan and I have to say that even that small amount made a big difference, so don’t skip the Parm if at all possible. You can add more Parmesan if you like, but don’t skip it.
Oh! Also, I made my super easy Thick & Rich Pizza Sauce to dip the Cheesy Garlic Bread in. They’re a match made in heaven. ❤️
Homemade Cheesy Garlic Bread
Homemade Cheesy Garlic Bread
- 3/4 cup warm water ($0.00)
- 1 Tbsp sugar ($0.05)
- 2 tsp Active Dry or instant yeast ($0.18)
- 1 Tbsp olive oil ($0.13)
- 2 cups all-purpose flour (plus some for dusting) ($0.34)
- 1/2 Tbsp salt ($0.05)
- 2 Tbsp cornmeal ($0.03)
- 2 Tbsp butter ($0.26)
- 1 clove garlic, minced ($0.08)
- 1 Tbsp grated Parmesan ($0.10)
- 1 cup shredded cheese* ($1.25)
- Combine the warm water, sugar, and yeast in a bowl and stir until the yeast and sugar are dissolved. Let them sit for about 5 minutes, or until the mixture develops a layer of foam on top.
- While the yeast is proofing, combine 1 cup of the flour and the salt in a large bowl. Stir to combine.
- Pour the yeast mixture and olive oil into the bowl with the flour and salt. Stir until the slurry is smooth and free of lumps. Begin adding more flour, about 1/3 cup at a time, until the mixture turns into a ball of dough (about 2 cups total flour).
- Turn the dough out onto a clean surface that is lightly dusted with flour. Knead the dough until it is smooth and no longer sticky, adding only small amounts of flour as you go (about 5 minutes total). Return the ball of dough to the mixing bowl, cover with plastic, and let sit for one hour or until double in size.
- Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Prepare a baking sheet by sprinkling a liberal amount of cornmeal over the surface (about 2 Tbsp). Punch down the risen dough, then stretch it over the baking sheet, leaving the dough about 1/4-1/2 inch thick.
- Place the butter and minced garlic in a small dish and microwave for 30 seconds or until the butter is melted. Brush the butter and garlic mixture over the surface of the dough. Sprinkle the grated Parmesan over the butter and garlic. Finally, add the shredded cheese in an even layer over everything.
- Bake the bread for about 15 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the cheese is melted and is just beginning to turn golden brown on the edges. Once baked, slice the Cheesy Garlic Bread down the center lengthwise, then across into ten strips, about 1-inch wide. Serve with pizza sauce for dipping.
Step by Step Photos
Begin by dissolving 2 tsp yeast (instant or active dry) and 1 Tbsp sugar in 3/4 cup warm water. Let the mixture sit for 5 minutes, or until it develops a layer of thick foam on top, like in the photo above.
While waiting for the yeast to proof, combine 1 cup of the all-purpose flour with 3/4 tsp salt in a bowl. Pour the yeast mixture and 1 Tbsp olive oil into the bowl with the flour and salt.
Stir the mixture until it’s smooth and relatively lump free.
Begin stirring in more flour, about 1/3 cup at a time, until it forms a ball of dough (about 2 cups total flour). Then turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and begin to knead the dough. Try not to add much flour as you knead to prevent the dough from becoming stiff. Knead for about 5 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and no longer sticky.
Place the kneaded dough back in the bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let it rise for one hour, or until it’s double in size (this photo is after kneading, before rising).
Once the dough has risen, begin preheating the oven to 375ºF. Sprinkle a generous amount of cornmeal onto a baking sheet. Punch the risen down down, then stretch it out onto the baking sheet. To help handle the dough without it sticking to your hands, either dust your hands with flour or use a drop or two of olive oil to coat your hands and the dough.
Add 2 Tbsp butter and one clove of minced garlic to a small bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds or until the butter is melted.
Brush the butter and garlic mixture over the stretched dough, from edge to edge.
Sprinkle 1 Tbsp grated Parmesan over the garlic butter, then top with 1 cup shredded cheese. Mozzarella is best, but I used a mix of cheddar and a Monterey-Jack-like cheese and it still worked beautifully.
Bake the Cheesy Garlic Bread for about 15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and just beginning to turn golden brown on the edges.
Slice the Cheesy Garlic Bread once lengthwise down the center, then across into 10 1-inch strips. (I garnished with a bit of chopped parsley for visual effect, but you don’t need that for flavor).