Sunday, 30 November 2014

Herb And Cheese Pull-Apart Bread / Roasted Tomato And Carrot Soup

I am not a big fan of soups and yet this past month, a mug of vegetable soup has been the provider of my daily dose of nutrition. Ideally, nothing beats a bowl of steaming chicken soup when you are sick but I wasn't feeling up to having anything do with meat. So, vegetable soup it's been. Tomato, carrot, spinach, pumpkin, cabbage, cauliflower and any other veggies than you can think of putting in a soup, we've had it in some permutation and combination!!

Since I've been feeling better this week, I've been enthused to hunt around for a good bread recipe to go with soup. At first, I thought of a baguette but then while googling around, I came across a few pull-apart breads and the decision was made.
Pull-apart breads are all about the visual. They look like a sequence of bread slices that have been stitched together into a loaf. Essentially made from a regular bread dough that is rolled out, sprinkled all over with a filling of your choice and then the dough is cut into strips and then again into squares to get the requisite look. It might sound complex but if you follow the pictorial step-by-step link that I have provided ... it's all quite simple!
For this dough, I went with a cheese, garlic and herb filling as these are flavours that would go with most soups. Although for this post, I played it safe with a roasted tomato and carrot soup. There is nothing much with the soup. It just involves roasting all the veggies and then blitzing it all up and you are done.
I am not sure on how to describe the final flavours of the soup, other than to say that roasting the veggies evokes the flavours of the Mediterranean. The natural sweetness of the carrots are the perfect foil for the sour tomatoes. Once roasted, there is not much to add to the soup except for the seasoning.And this bread is the perfect accompaniment to it.
Like I said earlier, a pull-apart bread is all about the visual. The golden crust speckled with herbs and cheese is impressive. The best part of this bread is the contrast between the golden-brown hard crust on the outside and that pillowy soft inside that tastes of garlic, cheese and the herbs. Straight out of the oven with all those heady aromas wafting about, I think you'll find the bread simply irresistible!
The seasons have changed and while much of India is yet to experience it, keep this bread in mind for the Winter ahead. Hope you're having a lovely weekend!!

Herb and Cheese Pull-Apart Bread

Recipe adapted from the blog, 'the tummy train'. Makes one 9 x 5-inch loaf

For the bread dough: 
  • 3 cup flour
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons active dried yeast
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
For the filling: 
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup chopped herbs (use any combination, I used parsley and celery)
  • 1 cup grated cheese
  • 4 tablespoon unsalted butter,
  • salt and freshly ground pepper, for seasoning

  • In a large bowl, combine the water, sugar, and yeast. The warm should be luke warm. Hot water will kill the yeast. Whisk lightly and leave the mixture for 5 minutes. The mixture will turn creamy and bubbles will appear.
  • Add the first 2 cups of flour and mix until combined.
  • With the help of a dough hook of your mixer (speed: low), start to knead the dough. Slowly introduce the third cup of flour, 2 tablespoons at a time, until a dough forms.
  • Knead 6 to 9 minutes, until soft and pliable, and dough no longer sticks to the sides of the bowl.
  • Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead to form a smooth ball. Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl and allow to rise 1 to 2 hours, or until doubled in size.
  • Punch down the dough and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Allow to rest for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, chop the herbs and garlic, melt the butter, and grate the cheese.
  • Roll the dough out into a 12 x 20-inch rectangle. Brush with 2 tablespoons of the melted butter, then sprinkle the dough with the garlic, herbs, and cheese. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Drop by this link to get step-by-step pictorial on how to shape the loaf.
  • Cut the dough into 6 equally-sized strips using a pizza cutter or knife. Stack the strips on top of each other and cut into 6 equally-sized squares.
  • Grease a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan, and stack the squares on top of each other in the pan. An easy way to do this is to hold the pan on its side. If you lose some of the filling as you stack, just sprinkle it on top once the dough has been stacked. Drizzle the remaining 2 tablespoons of melted butter over the top.
  • Cover with a clean kitchen towel and allow to rise for about 40 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Bake the bread 35 to 45 minutes, or until the top is golden-brown and the inside is cooked through. If the top browns too quickly, tent the bread with foil.
  • Remove from oven and allow to cool for at least 20 minutes. Run a knife around the edges and invert onto a serving platter to serve

Roasted Tomato and Carrot Soup

Recipe adapted from the blog, 'the gouda life'. Serves 2.

  • 6 medium sized tomatoes
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 small onion, peeled and sliced into wedges
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled 
  • 2 sprigs of thyme
  • olive oil, to drizzle
  • 125 mls chicken stock or vegetable stock
  • salt and freshly ground pepper, for seasoning
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
  • Slice the tomatoes in half and place on baking sheet. Add the onion wedges, garlic cloves, and whole carrots to the pan. Drizzle with just enough olive oil to coat and sprinkle it all with salt, pepper and thyme leaves (removed from the stems). 
  • Roast for 30-40 minutes or until tomatoes have reduced in size by half and carrots are easily pierced with a fork/knife. 
  • While the pan cools, add your stock to a soup pot and bring to a low simmer. Scrape everything from the baking sheet right into the pot, including any brown bits or juices.
  • Let it simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Puree everything in the pot up with a blender until smooth. If you prefer, you can strain it through a sieve for a smoother consistency. Taste for seasoning and add more salt if needed. Ladle into bowls and finish with fresh ground pepper. 



  1. Definitely craving a slice of that herb and cheese bread right now - it looks and sounds SO delicious.

    1. And surprisingly easy to make, Thalia!! you are an accomplished baker... it will be a breeze for you!! hope you give it a try!

  2. I love a good pull-apart bread, especially when paired with garlic and cheese! Yum!

    1. Well, this was the first time I was trying my hand at it.. was much easier than I thought, time I'd probably try a sweet version! Thanks for dropping by!

  3. I would gladly eat this pretty looking soup with cheese bread.


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