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This tangy, round-shaped loaf we know as San Francisco sourdough bread, brushed with garlic butter, stuffed with cheese, then baked until toasty is the golden melty goodness you didn’t know you needed. Sourdough bread certainly wasn’t invented in San Francisco—that’s a credit to ancient cultures of Egypt—but it became closely associated with the city during the California Gold Rush era when it was a staple of miners’ diets. Today, loaves are often hollowed out, filled with creamy clam chowder, and served to visitors. Some say the foggy climate gives San Francisco’s sourdough bread a special bounce, and others say it’s a specific local strain of yeast that gives the characteristic flavor. That bounce and flavor are notes that pair perfectly with a California Chardonnay or Chenin Blanc.

cheesy garlic pull apart bread


  • 1 round or oval loaf of sourdough bread
  • 1 stick (8 tablespoons/125 g) butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • ½ teaspoon (3 mL) salt, omit if using salted butter
  • 3 cups (700 g) shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 2 tablespoons (30 mL) chopped fresh parsley

Servings: 46
Cook time: prep 5 minutes, cook 30 minutes

Special equipment: serrated bread knife, pastry brush is helpful but not required, aluminum foil


Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).

In a small saucepan over low heat, melt butter with garlic and salt if using. Remove from heat. Alternatively, you can melt the butter and garlic in a microwave-safe bowl in the microwave oven.

Using a serrated bread knife, cut the bread into 1-inch (2 cm) slices, without cutting all the way through the bottom. Turn the bread a ¼-turn and cut the bread at 1-inch (2 cm) intervals to create small diamonds or squares, again, without cutting all the way through the bottom of the loaf of bread.

Brush the inside cut surfaces of the bread with the melted garlic butter. If you don’t have a pastry brush, you can simply drizzle the melted garlic butter with a small spoon. Reserve about 2 tablespoons (30 mL) for the top.

Using your fingers, stuff shredded cheese into the cut surfaces of the bread. The cheese does not have to fit inside perfectly.

Brush the top of the stuffed bread loaf with the remaining garlic butter. Place the loaf on a baking sheet and cover with aluminum foil. Bake until the cheese has melted, about 20 minutes. Remove the aluminum foil and bake until the top of the bread gets toasted, about 5 minutes.

Sprinkled top of bread with chopped parsley. Serve immediately, with a lot of napkins.

Leftover Cheesy Garlic Pull Apart Bread will keep tightly wrapped in plastic wrap or a zip-top bag in the refrigerator for three days.

Cheesy Garlic Pull Apart Bread Notes and Substitutions:

  • Monterey Jack is our cheese of choice because—what else?—it originates from California! However, any meltable cheese like mozzarella or mild cheddar will work.
  • Make-ahead: You can make this Cheesy Garlic Pull Apart Bread ahead by following the recipe through stuffing the cheese into the bread. Very tightly wrap the prepped Cheesy Garlic Pull Apart Bread loaf and keep it in the refrigerator. When ready to make, remove from the refrigerator, unwrap, and let come to room temperature while you preheat the oven, about 15 minutes. Proceed baking as directed in the recipe.

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