Pull Apart Cheese Bread

I read some where that reading a good book is like traveling through and living many different lives while still sitting in one’s arm-chair. I guess what defines a good book is an entirely personal matter. The books I usually love must involve a journey of some sort: an adventure and if it happens to involve a love story as well, that’s usually a plus. I can also judge a book by its cover! In fact over the years I have developed a sense for looking at a book and in a few minutes of examining the cover, tittle and content list, I am able to tell if I am taking it home or not. Cheese Bread revisited.


I came across the book Saha a few years back while browsing through the cook book section at Borders. It was love at first sight. Written by Greg and Lucy Malouf this book had it all; love, a journey and food. Chef Malouf travels through Syria and Lebanon exploring the food culture and history of the levant. The photography tells the story beautifully and the writing by Lucy Malouf  is smooth, unpretentious and enticing. 

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Every chapter had inspirational recipes that tracked their culinary adventure. The one recipe I was always looking at and examining for a few years is a pull apart cheese bread.


My first attempt was a failure. Failing at a recipe breaks my heart. Especially if it’s taken me the time and effort to put together, and as you very well know baking bread in particular, is a labour of love. I mistakenly added more yeast than needed. The recipe called for a one table spoon of dry yeast and I only had active dry yeast which according to google should be used in equal measure to the former. It was a mistake.. the dough had fumes coming out of it,,, and I knew that it was going to be a flop..


I halved the amount of active yeast and voila it worked. I adapted the recipe slightly in substituting one of the table spoons of olive oil for butter as wanted a brioche effect to the bread. The only problem I had was I ran out of white cheese and fresh organic oregano leaves but of course my dearest pal Reema came to the rescue with her farm’s organic Oregano and white cheese.

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It came out soft, chewy and looking more like a scone than a bread. The parmesan gave it a real tangy and flaky sort of flavour and texture. I would do it again but using only white cheeses.



Bread Dough

  • 310 plain flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 table spoon dry yeast or half a teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 50 ml water
  • 150 g plain yoghurt
  • 2 table spoon extra virgin olive oil + 1 table spoon melted butter

Pull apart cheese bread

  • bread dough from above
  • 100 g Haloumi or Nabulsi white cheese
  • 50 g Parmesan and 50 g Mozerella
  • 1/4 cup dried zatar (oregano leaves)
  • olive oil


In a cake mixer with the hook attachment on, add the flour and salt. On the side, mix the yoghurt and olive oil together and in another bowl dissolve the yeast and sugar and leave to bubble up. Add the yogurt first then the yeast and knead by hand for ten minutes or let the dough hook on lowest mark for ten minutes. Rub the dough with oil on both sides, place inside a bowl, cover and let it rise inside a cool oven for two hours.

Once the dough has doubled in size, knock the air out and knead for a minute then add the three cheeses and oregano leaves and knead well. Pinch and roll to walnut size balls and leave covered inside a parchment lined baking tray to rise for a second time for 45 minutes. Once risen, they merge into one another, brush with olive oil and bake for twenty minutes on 180C. Bon Appetite.


  1. Leave a Reply

    March 13, 2012

    Looks wonderful!!! i somehow never succeeded working with yeast!!! 🙁 but i m not the one to give-up!!!!!

  2. Leave a Reply

    March 13, 2012

    is the cute baby girl a by product of the cake as well?

  3. Leave a Reply

    March 14, 2012

    I’ve looked at the Greg and Lucy Malouf books and they are beautiful. I don’t own a single one (but on the wish list). It is disheartening when you have to throw precious ingredients away but so satisfying when it turns out right – and your pull apart bread looks absolutely lovely.

  4. Leave a Reply

    March 14, 2012

    Looks great Lara! They always say, the only way you can tell if a woman is a good cook is her upper body strength…a product of all the kneading:) the parmesean gave it a great kick, my daughter is a sucker for Parmesean, in any shape or form. Thanks for sharing

  5. Leave a Reply

    March 14, 2012

    Looks delicious! Must try this..

  6. Leave a Reply

    March 14, 2012

    Simply put – Yummmmmmmmmmmy

  7. Leave a Reply

    Kitchen Butterfly
    March 17, 2012

    That’s what I love about food though, its forgiving nature. So the recipe didn’t work first time around but thankfully it didn’t cost so much to try again. And it looks like a great success. Well done and Saha sounds like a wonderful book. I love the exotic, heart warming feeling I get from Middle Eastern cookbooks and scenery. Have a good weekend

  8. Leave a Reply

    sarah - the hedonista
    March 18, 2012

    I love Greg Malouf – I have his book Arabesque, and the recipes are so easy and fail safe. Lovely meeting you yesterday – hope next time it’s for longer! x Sarah

  9. Leave a Reply

    March 19, 2012

    the most striking part of the article is the photo of your daughter with a happy face enjoyong eating the cheese bread.perhaps she can determin for u whether the recipe is tasty .u remind me of the saying food for thought..food, if its tasty spicy and inviting ones appetite is not pnly nourishing for the body but also for the soul.thats the essence of food.i strongly encourage u to continue your journey of food as u have the passion for it.u look at it as a world to be discoverd and u are learning new thing every day.well thats great chef lara….

  10. Leave a Reply

    March 19, 2012

    In food good bread is my weakness I can never resist eating it specially when it is hot, I can practically live on it with butter or olive oil,and this bread looks so yummy,I have to try it.Your daughter looks that is is enjoying it so much.
    Keep on Lara with all your good and delicious recipes.

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