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Asiago Bread has a cheese crusted golden crust with a fluffy, soft inside. It’s a homemade bread loaded with Asiago cheese and a hint of black pepper. It’s excellent served alongside our sausage tortellini soup or Italian skillet chicken.
The first time I tried Asiago Cheese Bread was the first time I ever stepped inside a Panera Bread, over 25 years ago. I was newly married and had a coupon for a free loaf of bread. And I’m all about free warm bread.
I stepped inside the restaurant and gawked at all of the egg soufflés, kitchen sink cookies and huge cinnamon rolls. Then my eyes landed on a loaf of cheese crusted Asiago Bread. I immediately knew what bread would be coming home with me that day. I served it with lasagna (Matt’s favorite), and fell in love.
A few years later I happened across a recipe for Asiago Cheese Bread. This savory bread recipe is a perfect Panera copycat recipe for that slightly tangy bread with a hint of pepper. I promise you’ll love it as much as we have over the years.
Mix the dry ingredients. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the flour, yeast, sugar, salt and pepper. Set aside.
Heat the milk and butter. Put the milk and in a microwave safe bowl. Heat the milk to 120-130ºF so that the butter starts melting. Make sure the temperature is just right so that it is warm enough to activate the yeast, but not kill it.
Combine the two. Stir the milk mixture into the flour mixture and mix on low speed using the paddle attachment until smooth. Add in 1 ¼ cups shredded cheese and mix just until combined.
Knead the dough. Gradually add in 1 ¾ cups flour to make a soft dough. Knead in the stand mixer with the dough hook for 5 minutes. Don’t add too much flour. It should still be a sticky dough, slightly sticking to the bottom of the bowl as it kneads.
First rise. Spray a large bowl with cooking spray. Add the bread dough to the bowl, then turn the dough over so the cooking spray coats both sides of the dough. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a clean tea towel and let the dough rise in a warm place until it is nearly double (30-45 minutes).
Shape and second rise. After the dough is doubled, punch it down and use a serrated knife or dough cutter to divide the dough in two. Shape each piece of dough into a loaf. Place the loaves on a baking sheet that is lined with parchment paper. Cover the loaves with plastic wrap or a clean towel and allow them to rise again for 20-30 minutes. The loaves may not rise much, but that’s ok. They’ll spring up in the oven.
Bake. Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Whisk together the egg and water in a small bowl. Brush the tops of the loaves with the egg wash, then sprinkle the remaining cheese on top. Bake for 30-35 minutes until lightly golden brown. The internal temperature of the asiago loaf should be 190ºF.
As if bread with cheese inside isn’t a beautiful enough, there are three options for shaping this asiago bread dough:
Adapted from Food.com
If you love this asiago