Looking for a crowd pleasing appetizer for a Christmas party? This pull apart skillet cheese bread is so tasty, your guests will be coming back for seconds! It’s made from homemade yeast pizza dough and stuffed with onions and cheddar and asiago cheeses. Dip it into marinara sauce for a family favorite dinner idea!
For the Herbed Pizza Dough
- 4 1/4 cups bread flour (500g)
- 3 teaspoons fast-action yeast (10g)
- 2 teaspoons salt (10g)
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar (12g)
- 1 teaspoon dried basil leaves
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (60 ml)
- 1 1/4 – 1 1/2 cups warm water (300-350 ml)
For the Filling
- 1 1/2 cup yellow onion, chopped (207g)
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (30 ml)
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 1/4 cup extra sharp cheddar cheese, grated (106g)
- 3/4 cup asiago cheese, grated (47g)
For the Topping
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 cup extra sharp cheddar cheese, grated (21g)
Making the Dough (25 minutes + 1 hour rising)
- Warm the water in a small saucepan or the microwave until it’s 110-115 F.
- Pour the flour into the bowl of a stand mixer and add the salt and yeast on opposite sides of the bowl. Stir each one in with your finger, being careful not to let the salt touch the yeast directly, or it will kill the yeast.
- Dump in the sugar, basil, oregano, and olive oil, then mix on low speed with the paddle attachment until a dough begins to form.
- Add three-quarters of the warm water to the mixture, keeping the mixer on low speed. Gradually trickle in the remaining water until a sticky dough has formed. You may not need all the water, but if you think the dough is too dry, add all the water.
- Switch attachments to the dough hook and knead on medium-low speed until the dough is smooth, a little less sticky, and passes the windowpane test, about 5-8 minutes. Do the windowpane test by stretching a lump of the dough between your hands to create a windowpane shape. If the dough can stretch to be translucent without breaking, it’s kneaded enough; if not, knead a minute longer and check again.
- Shape the kneaded dough into a ball and place in an oiled bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let it rise until at least doubled in size, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours at room temperature. (Alternatively, place the dough in the fridge for 8-12 hours for a slow, cold rise, which will result in a better flavored dough.)
Preparing the Filling (15 minutes)
- While the dough is rising, prepare the filling. Chop the onions, then fry them in 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat until golden. Season them with the salt and set aside to cool.
- Grate the two cheeses, including the extra cheddar cheese for the topping, and set aside in the fridge until needed.
Shaping the Cheese Bread (15 minutes + 45 minutes rising)
- Lightly grease a 10-inch cast iron skillet with olive oil.
- Punch down the risen dough, then divide it into 18 equal pieces, using a kitchen scale for accuracy.
- Roll each piece of dough into a rough circle with a rolling pin. Place 1/2 teaspoon of the cooked onions and a generous pinch of cheddar and asiago cheeses in the center. Pinch the dough around the filling to seal and place seam side down in the skillet. Repeat with the remaining dough balls.
- Cover the skillet with a piece of plastic wrap or a clean garbage bag. Let the bread rise in a warm place until the rolls’ sides are touching and the dough is springy to the touch, about 45 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 425 F about 15 minutes before the bread is done rising.
Baking the Cheese Bread (5 minutes + 25 minutes baking + cooling)
- Uncover the skillet and brush the rolls with beaten egg and sprinkle them with the 1/4 cup of cheddar cheese.
- Bake at 425 F until well browned, about 25 minutes. The rolls should have an internal temperature of 190-200 F on a meat thermometer.
- Let the bread cool completely in the skillet, then serve with homemade marinara sauce.