Basil Havarti Bread

Earlier today, I was making some Sesame Cheddar bread with diced manzanilla (my wife’s favorite) – and got to thinking deep thoughts about other cheeses that would taste yummy in bread. I have made a few recipes with cheeses but wanted to try a cheese I hadn’t used before.

A bread of mystery.

I journeyed far into my subconscious mind (and the cheese drawer of the fridge) and after much meditation and rummaging, came to the realization that my cheese drawer was pretty empty. So, I grabbed the lone block of Havarti. And because I can’t make a loaf of bread with just a single flavor (seriously, have you seen the titles of recipes on this site?), I also snagged the package of fresh basil.

This recipe is loosely based on the one for Sesame Cheddar Bread. I replaced the 1/2 cup of toasted sesame seeds with a 1/4 cup of chia seeds, swapped the Havarti for the cheddar, added basil, and threw in some Greek yogurt and quinoa flour because I have hipster leanings. My son Sawyer and his D&D crew liked it (teens? check!), and my wife asked for another piece of toast made with it this morning for breakfast (wife? check!). Having passed those two checks, I can reasonably assert that this recipe rocks. Yay!

[post script: I brought some of this bread to my Dad after I published this recipe. He said that it was, without a doubt, his favorite bread I’ve made. Well, I do declare.]

Basil Havarti Bread

A gentle savory bread with Havarti cheese, fresh basil, and chia seeds. I also threw in some Greek yogurt and quinoa flour because I have hipster leanings.

Prep Time 2 hours
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Servings 2 loaves
Author Mark Oppenneer


  • 2 scant tablespoons (or 2 ¼-ounce packages) active dry yeast
  • 2 cups warm water about 110 degrees
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons soft butter
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 eggs slightly beaten
  • ¼ cup fresh basil cut in little bits
  • ¼ cup chia seeds
  • ½ cup quinoa flour
  • 5½-6½ cups unbleached flour
  • ½ cup Havarti cheese diced


  1. In a large bowl, stir yeast into water to soften. Add sugar, yogurt, butter, salt, eggs, basil, chia seeds, quinoa flour, and 1½ cups flour. Beat vigorously for two minutes.

  2. Gradually add flour, ¼ cup at a time, until the dough begins to pull away from the side of the bowl.
  3. Turn dough out onto a floured work surface. Knead, adding flour a little at a time, until you have a smooth, elastic dough.
  4. Put dough into an oiled bowl. Turn to coat the entire ball of dough with oil. Cover with a tightly woven towel and let rise until doubled, about one hour.
  5. Turn the dough out onto a lightly oiled work surface. With the heel of your hand, flatten the dough to a 15-inch square. Sprinkle with the cheese. Roll up, then knead a few times to marble the cheese throughout the dough. Cover with a tightly woven towel and let rest for 5 minutes.

  6. Divide dough in half. Shape each half into a loaf and place into well-greased loaf pans. Cover with a tightly woven towel and let rise until almost doubled, about 45 minutes.
  7. About 10 minutes before baking, preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  8. Bake for 25 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the loaves reaches 190 degrees.
  9. Immediately remove bread from pans and cool on a rack.

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