Go Savory: Whole Wheat Herb Loaf, Garlic-Cheese Rolls, and More


Autumn is a perfect time to go savory and Grandmother Bread is the perfect recipe! Several people asked about the bread pictured in my Turkey Noodle Soup post.

It’s Grandmother Bread, of course–formed into an Italian-shaped loaf and baked on a cookie sheet. Think outside the loaf pan! Grandmother Bread also works great shaped into dinner rolls, sandwich-size rolls, sub rolls, bread twists, and anything else you can dream up! In this loaf, I simply made the standard one-loaf Grandmother Bread recipe, shaped the dough, and topped it with a generous sprinkling of Cheddar cheese to melt on top as it baked, but you can do so much more, especially to create some really elegant holiday breads.

So here are a few of my favorite savory versions of Grandmother Bread. A couple of notes–one, when I make savory Grandmother Bread, I reduce the sugar to one teaspoon per loaf because I’m not looking for a very sweet bread, and two, when I bake it in “loose” loaves on a cookie sheet, I don’t give it a second rise. I stick it straight in the oven. If you allow a second rise, the loaf will lose its shape. I don’t want to add more flour, making a denser loaf and losing the soft, light quality of Grandmother Bread, and the bread will rise fine in the oven as it heats. I do not preheat the oven when I’m baking loose loaves. This lets the bread rise as the oven heats up without putting it in directly under the maximum heat. The bread’s crust bakes first, creating an exterior “shell” that protects the loaf from flattening out as it’s rising and the oven is heating. It works, trust me! (Even with regular yeast. Rapid-rise is a helper when you’re not giving bread a “real” second rise, but it isn’t necessary.)

Now let’s get to the good stuff! Start with the standard one-loaf Grandmother Bread recipe, reducing the sugar. (Learn all about Grandmother Bread here.)

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How to make Whole Wheat Herb Loaf:

1 1/2 cups warm water
1 teaspoon yeast
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon fresh herbs or 1 teaspoon dried*
3 1/2 cups flour (various)**

*Use more or less herbs, depending on your preference! How herby do you want it to be? You decide! Choose your favorite herbs or use whatever you have on-hand. I used a mixture of fresh rosemary, oregano, and chives here.

**I used one part whole wheat flour to two parts all-purpose flour here. When using whole grains, particularly if you go straight whole grains, use homemade dough enhancer.

In a large bowl, combine water, yeast, sugar, salt, and herbs. Let sit five minutes. Stir in the first cup and a half of flour with a heavy spoon. Add the next cup of flour a little at a time as needed, stirring until dough becomes too stiff to continue stirring easily. Add a little more flour and begin kneading. The flour measure is approximate–your mileage may vary! Continue adding flour and kneading until the dough is smooth and elastic. Let dough rise in a greased, covered bowl until doubled. (Usually, about an hour.) Uncover bowl; sprinkle in a little more flour and knead again.

Shape into a loaf. I do this by taking the dough ball in my hands, holding my hands several inches apart, and “bouncing” the loaf in my hands. Bouncing and pulling a bit, to stretch it in a loaf shape. I actually do this before placing loaves into bread pans, too, but it’s especially important when placing on a cookie sheet as it won’t have the loaf pan to provide form. Grease a cookie sheet and place the shaped loaf on it. You can slash the top with a sharp knife if you like. Turn on the oven now to 350-degrees, and not a minute sooner. Immediately place the bread in the oven. Remember that your baking time will be longer than usual because you are preheating the oven to allow the bread some rising time while the bread is already in the oven rather than heating the oven before placing the bread inside it, as with the regular Grandmother Bread in a loaf pan. Baking time will depend on how long it takes your oven to heat to 350-degrees. The baking time for regular Grandmother Bread is 25 minutes. Done this way, it takes me about 40 minutes to get a loaf done, but keep an eye on it to figure out your own time based on your oven.

You get some really rustic, beautiful loaves with this method. Like you have totally gone to Tuscany.

By the way, would you like a round loaf? Make one!

Love those incredible garlic-cheese rolls they have at restaurants? You can make those, too.

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How to make Garlic-Cheese Rolls:

1 1/2 cups warm water
1 teaspoon yeast
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese*
3 1/2 cups flour

*Use any cheese you want. Want it even cheesier? Add more. You can. You have my permission!

In a large bowl, combine water, yeast, sugar, salt, garlic, and cheese. Let sit five minutes. Stir in the first cup and a half of flour with a heavy spoon. Add the next cup of flour a little at a time as needed, stirring until dough becomes too stiff to continue stirring easily. Add a little more flour and begin kneading. The flour measure is approximate–your mileage may vary! Continue adding flour and kneading until the dough is smooth and elastic. Let dough rise in a greased, covered bowl until doubled. (Usually, about an hour.) Uncover bowl; sprinkle in a little more flour and knead again.

Shape into rolls. Any kind you like! If the dough gets sticky as you pull it apart to form rolls, sprinkle on a little flour. Make large rolls for sandwich or sub rolls. Make simple round rolls for dinner rolls, or shape into knots or breadsticks or anything else you like. Grandmother Bread makes the softest rolls in the world. Soooo good! (Especially when warm straight from the oven!)

I dragged Princess in to help me out here and take pictures. Take a bit of dough and roll between your hands to roll it out into a breadstick.

If you want to make knots, pull the dough around….

…..and slip it together in a knot.

Give rolls a second rise on a greased cookie sheet. Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven. Baking time will depend on the size of your rolls, but generally around 15-20 minutes for rolls. (Keep an eye on it!)

I’m just scratching the surface here, of course. Love those onion sandwich buns they have at the store? Make your own onion buns by adding a cup of chopped onion to the dough. (Brush some olive oil on top after you shape your buns and scatter minced onion on top before baking to get it all prettied up!) Make jalapeno bread. Make cheesy-herb bread, or onion bread. Put it in a loaf pan, or not in a loaf pan! There are as many ways to make savory Grandmother Bread as there are ideas in your head. Generally, I use one cup for add-ins to the dough. (Always include your add-ins with the water-yeast mixture, before adding flour.) One cup of onions, or one cup of peppers. Or any other vegetable that suits your fancy. Bake “garden rolls” with shredded carrot and parsley. Or how about some sundried tomato and garlic bread? Make your one cup a combination, or a single item. (You can still add a cup of cheese, even if adding peppers, onions, or whatever else, though it may reduce the flour you need in your dough.)

You can double or triple these recipes for big holiday dinners, of course. Go savory and think outside the loaf pan! Could any single recipe be more versatile? Why flip through cookbooks working with a hundred different bread recipes when you can do it all with the one easy-to-memorize recipe for Grandmother Bread?

Now tell me some of your favorite savory flavors for bread!

See these recipes at Farm Bell Recipes and save them to your recipe box:
Whole Wheat Herb Loaf
Garlic-Cheese Rolls

See All My Recipes
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  1. TeresaH says:

    Those look so good it makes me want to attempt bread making again. I’ve not had much luck with yeast breads before.

  2. Minna says:

    Mmm… Must try those.

  3. Carolyn A. says:

    There should be a Chickens In The Road Bread Shoppe somewhere! All those rolls and breads should be made available to the public. But we do thank you for sharing the recipe with us. xxoo

  4. Janet says:

    You make bread making sound easy. It invites me to give it a try.

  5. Shari C says:

    Oh, those garlic cheese rolls sound so good, I think I am going to have to give this a try. I love homemade bread, but have not made it in a long time…sad to say. I think with the cooler weather now, this sounds just perfect.

  6. Gail says:

    The bread and rolls look so yummy! I have tried doing French and Italian loaves baked on a cookie sheet, but they spread and flattened. NOW I know what to do to prevent that.
    I have also had trouble with breads when I do a second rise
    with the dough sticking to whatever I cover it with. I have used greased plastic wrap, greased wax paper, and as some recipes instruct, a wet tea towel. The dough sticks and when I pull the covering off, no matter how gentle I am,
    the top of the dough comes off and it flattens. What am I doing wrong?

  7. Suzanne McMinn says:

    Gail, in the second rise, when I’m using a loaf pan, I only cover the bread until it reaches the top of the pan. Before it touches the covering, I take the cover off and let it finish rising uncovered. And I don’t cover rolls etc at all while they’re rising.

  8. Gizmo says:

    I just ordered my grain mill, and my friend is sending me wheat berries from her Summer harvest. I’m ready to give this a try! :bananadance:

  9. FringeGirl says:

    This sounds WONDERFUL! I can almost smell the dough rising…I LOVE that smell. I’m going to try your recipes. Thanks for sharing them!

  10. Suzanne, the Farmer's Wife says:

    I’ll attest to the fact that Grandmother Bread is easy and delicious! Since the Farmer is in charge of one of the largest fresh herb operations in the U.S., I’m going to be experimenting with herbs and possibly Asiago cheese.

    – Suzanne, the Farmer’s Wife

  11. Kacey says:

    Ever since someone Twittered yesterday about making homemade bread, I’ve been craving it! Yours looks so delicious! A nice warm slice for breakfast would be nice, thanks. I’ll be waiting…

  12. Remudamom says:

    I love to braid bread. Just roll it out in a long rectangle, cut into three sections and start braiding. Let rise and cook.

    Or sometimes I toss a handful of rice in the dough. The kids love the crunchyness.

  13. CindyP says:

    Suzanne — are you sure you’re not a baker instead of a writer for your other “job”? Those look FANTASTIC!!! But I agree with Carolyn A — you need to make this available to others!

  14. warren says:

    Beautiful bread! You beat Panera any day!

  15. Shirley says:

    Thanks for all these variations. I’ve made your grandmother bread and have shared the recipe with friends. I’m thinking some of these would go great in gift baskets for close friends. Notice I said close.

  16. tammathau says:

    Suzanne, I just want to thank you for your wonderful blog and forum and all the recipes! My family doesn’t even ask where I get recipes anymore, they know Chickens in the Road!

  17. Linda Brown says:

    I have found your site and find it wonderful! Thanks for these recipes! I will be sure to visit everyday!


  18. catslady says:

    I thought it would be Coco’s job to lick the dishes clean :mrgreen:

  19. Minna says:

    I just hate fact I need to start converting cups to deciliters again. :shocked:

  20. Abiga/karen says:

    You are so creative in the kitchen. Blessings.

  21. Brandy says:

    When I’m done drooling I may have to actually break down and make some bread. *G*

  22. Lorie says:

    Oh my gosh – that bread looks sooo good!!! We love bread so much in our household, but I have never ever tried to make it – dough intimidates me!! But, I may venture forth and give it a go…just for the heck of it! My husband loves bread so much that when he dies, he says he wants to be baked inside a giant loaf of bread!!! True story – sad, but true.

  23. Estella says:

    Those breads look so good!

  24. Susan says:

    Yummy! I can only imagine how good your kitchen smells.

  25. kellypea says:

    What yummy recipes! I’ve baked more bread in the last year than in my whole life, and it still doesn’t come close to what I know others have baked. The Grandmother’s bread sounds amazing. I made some of my own garlic cheese rolls, so know those are fab. Who needs dinner when there’s fresh bread, right?

  26. DeeBee says:

    Suzanne, on your Grandmother bread recipe where it calls for 1 pkg yeast… how much yeast is that? I don’t have packets, I have a jar of yeast. Many thanks in advance!!

  27. Suzanne McMinn says:

    A packet of yeast is just a little less than a tablespoon. I use bulk yeast most of the time and if I make the two-loaf recipe of Grandmother Bread, I use a scant tablespoon. If I make a one-loaf recipe, I use a teaspoon. This works for me!

  28. Donna says:

    :mrgreen: ohhhhh, how wonderful all that bread looks, Suzanne and Princess!!! :mrgreen: Bread is my FAVORITE carb!! Esp. hot dinner rolls. I love savory breads – like “the Everything” bagel..or any salty/herby bread..all of it sounds divine. You are so creative Suzanne!!!! Princess, you are SUCH a great helper!
    The cat cracks me up on top of the dishwasher..batting the other cats on the head, as they walk by. LOL LOL I LOVE animals. :catmeow: :mrgreen: Just got in from Texas today, so am TIRED…I’ll read this more closely tomorrow!

  29. Mokihana says:

    Oh my gosh! This looks fabulous!! I gotta try it!!

  30. Pamela says:

    I recently experimented with this recipe and came up with a very yummy savory bread!! Cheesy garlic bread…I roasted two heads of garlic and spread each loaf with butter, roasted garlic and shredded cheese. Roll it up like swirl bread and place in pan, rise and bake. Oooh…it was tasty.
    Definitely needed more cheese though!! 🙂 Thanks for such a great basic bread recipe. We are enjoying making lots of kinds. We even make the raisen cinnamon swirl into French Toast. Had that this morning. Yummm.
    Blessings, Pamela (from Florida)

  31. The Tile Lady-Marie says:

    My mouth is absolutely watering! It sounds so delicious, and I am going to have to try it!

  32. Winifred says:

    Mmmmm! Thanks for these recipes.

    I love sun dried tomato bread, black olive bread and also sunflower and pumpkin seed bread.

  33. Angie says:

    When I make itallian bread I spray the formed loaves with olive oil (spray in the can), cover it with plastic wrap and stick it in the fridge for the second rise and leave it until I’m ready to bake. I have never had trouble with anything sticking to it. That way it can be served hot out of the oven with any meal. I also like to top it with a mixture of olive oil, a good parmesean or other quality shredded cheese, garlic and oregano. It makes the most yummy soft bread ……

  34. Hamudstein says:

    You little scamp!

    You’ve made this look so appealing and easy that I’m giving it a try…

    And I’m someone with a lifetime of spectacular baking disasters.

    (I have friends who still remember a carrot cake I made in 1985 and refer to it as “The Doughball From the Pits of Hell.”)

    So, I have a innocent-looking lump of your dough rising right now on the kitchen counter.

    We’ll see how it goes and I’ll report back.

    But, one question…

    Are there different kinds of yeast and do they produce different textures and flavors in bread?

    I ask this because I know for certain that different yogurt cultures produce different textures and flavors in yogurt.

  35. Suzanne McMinn says:

    Hi! I use Fleischmann’s active dry yeast, which I buy in bulk size, for everything, so I don’t know any more than that. Good luck with your bread! Let me know how it comes out. If you want to chat with a lot of friendly people about bread-baking, also try my forum:
    We’d love to have you!

  36. Steph says:

    Beginner here…. after years of being afraid that somehow I couldn’t bake with yeast, you and your Grandmother bread have made a bread baker out of me. Yay! A beginner’s question: when you make the savory bread using one part whole wheat flour to two parts AP, do you add dough enhancer? I have my first bread using wheat flour (white whole wheat) rising on the mantle behind the woodstove right now…. I used one part to the two parts AP. It looks good so far, but in the future, would you recommend adding the enhancer?

    I love your site so much. Thank you for being my inspiration for this new baking adventure! I love it already. 🙂

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