Breads (Yeast) - Buns/Rolls

Cheesy Garlic Pull Apart Bread (Old Dough Method)

May 07, 2020 | Recipe by Bake with Paws

I tried to use up some of the cheese in the fridge before it goes bad to make this Cheesy Garlic Pull Apart Bread.

I used pâte fermentée (pre-fermented dough in French) or sometimes called "old dough" to make this soft and flavourful bread.  Traditionally, bread makers take a portion of the bread dough made and save it overnight for next day baking.  I made it from scratch since I did not have any ready old dough. With this method, the bread is more flavourful and aromatic due to the higher acidity and fermentation gasses produced during the slow fermentation.

Please click on Bread Making Method to understand more details.

It is advisable to read the below general notes before starting baking.


For kneading, please regard the timing provided as an indication only. It is only meant as a guide.  Timing may differ depending on the brand of flour and electric mixer used. The protein content may vary from one brand of flour to another.

Some have experienced the dough breaking during the second proofing.  If that happens it is due to over kneading.  Please stop the machine and check your dough during the final cycle of kneading to ensure that you don't over knead. Every machine is different and there is always a chance of over-kneading when using a machine. You may need to adjust this timing and stop as soon as you reach the window pane stage.

The right flour plays a very important role in bread making.  Usually bread flour content around 11.5 - 13.5% protein, while high gluten flour is around 13.5 - 14.5%.  All purpose flour content less protein around 9 - 11%.  To achieve fluffy, soft and light bread, I used Japan High Gluten Flour in most of my bread baking.  Sources from here and here.

The liquid measurement given is also a guide.  It is advisable to always reserve some liquid and not add it all in one go.  This would give you the opportunity to adjust if necessary. If dough is too dry, add the reserve liquid one tablespoon at a time until the right consistency.  This is because each flour absorbs water and hydrates differently. 

Please note that the proofing timing may also vary depending on your climate and environment. The humidity and temperature at your place will influence how dough rises.  
If you are unable to judge by just looking at the dough, you can do the finger poke test:
  1. First Proofing:
    • Lightly flour or oil your finger or knuckle, gently poke in the centre of the dough then remove your finger.  If it bounces back immediately without any indentation then it needs more time.
    • If the indentation stays and it doesn’t bounce back or if the dough collapses, then the it is over proved.  
    • If it bounces back just a little, then the dough is ready to be punched down and shaping.
  2. Second Proofing:
    • Lightly press the side of the proved dough with your finger.  If it bounces back immediately without any indentation, it means the dough is under proved and needs more time before baking.
    • If the indentation stays and it doesn’t bounce back, it means it has been over proved.
    • If the indentation slowly bounces back and leave a small indentation, it is ready to bake. 
    • There will be a final burst of rising once the bread is placed to bake in the oven and it is called oven spring. 
If your bread collapses or gets wrinkled on top after removing from oven, it could be because your dough over proved during the second proofing. Please proof your dough until 90% of the size.

Do also note that the baking temperature and timing provided are what works for my oven and should also be regarded as a guide only. Every oven behaves a little differently, so please adjust accordingly for your oven.

If you have any questions regarding this recipe or any other post, please leave me a comment in the “LEAVE A COMMENT” link and I will reply you as soon as possible.

Recipe - Cheesy Garlic Pull Apart Bread Recipe

Yields: 24 small buns in a 9.5 inch round pan

Total Flour: 300g


Old Dough:
90g bread flour (I used Japan High Gluten Flour)
58g water
1/4  tsp instant yeast
1/4 tsp sugar
Pinch of salt

Main Dough:
210g bread flour (I used Japan High Gluten Flour)
3/4 tsp instant yeast
30g brown sugar (add more if you like slightly sweeter)
1 tsp salt
30g butter, room temperature
30g whisked egg (less than 1 egg)
90g full cream milk

50g butter, soften
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp oregano
Black ground pepper
Pinch of salt

120g - 150g cheese mixture (mozzarella cheese + cheddar cheese)

9.5 inch round pan, greased  (you may also use 9 inch round pan)


For the Old Dough:
  1. Combine water, yeast and sugar in a mixing bowl.  Then mix in bread flour and knead with your hand until smooth.  Roll into a ball and place in a greased bowl.  Cover with cling film and let it ferment for 12 - 16 hours in cool place or  air-conditioned room if you live in a hot climate.
You may also let it proof 1 hour in room temperature (hot climate). After 1 hour, place into the refrigerator for 24 - 36 hours.  Take out the old dough from refrigerator to return to room temperature 30 minutes before using.

For the main dough:
  1. Put all main dough ingredients (except butter) and all the old dough in a bowl of stand mixer and knead for 3 - 5 minutes or till the dough comes together. Add in the butter and continue kneading for another 12 - 14 minutes or until achieve window pane stage (the dough at this stage should be able to be pulled and stretched into membrane).  I stopped half way to prevent the motor from overheating. 
  2. Cover the bowl and let the dough rise in a warm place for 45 - 60 minutes or until doubled in size. I normally leave the dough in the same mixing bowl and cover with cling film or kitchen towel.
  3. While waiting for the dough to proof, mix all the coating ingredients (except cheese) in a small bowl.  Set aside.
  4. Punch down the dough to release the air. Transfer the dough to a clean floured surface then divide into 24 portions, different sizes is fine.  Roll each portion into a ball.  After finishing shaping all the dough, deep each bun into the butter mixture and coat with cheese mixture. Place bun in a prepared round baking pan.  Continue until finish all the dough.
  5. Let the buns rise for another 40 - 50 minutes or until the buns rise double in size.
  6. 10 minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 180°C.
  7. Bake for 25 minutes, or until golden brown.  I covered the bread with parchment paper or aluminium foil at last 5 minutes to prevent the cheese from burning.
  8. Remove bread and let it cool on rack.

Preparing the coating ingredients:

Preparing the bread dough: