The prettiest Swirled Garlic Herb Bread…that’s so much easier than you might think. This light, doughy, and super soft bread is swirled with herb butter, hinted lightly with garlic, and makes for the most delicious and extra fancy companion to your dinner table. It’s easy, but impressive, and best served warm right out of the oven with just a little smear of butter. You will LOVE this bread. Bonus? This is a great way to use up all the end of summer herbs from the garden.

overhead photo of Swirled Garlic Herb Bread on cutting board with 2 pieces sliced

With Labor Day behind us, I’m ready to slowly start transitioning into the season the brings all the coziest recipes. I know it’s only the 3rd of September, and that the temperatures may still be warm, but autumn is in the air, especially around here. I couldn’t be more excited about this, as I said on Sunday, it’s my favorite season.

We had the nicest Labor Day weekend here in Colorado. Our weather is just perfect right now. I spent most of the long weekend prepping for a photoshoot we have this Saturday. I also planned out content for the coming months (my never-ending list of fall recipes just keeps growing). And I worked on some wedding cake details for my brother’s wedding that’s only one week from this Saturday.

And I finally got to spend some much needed one on one time with little sister, Asher. Her birthday was Friday, and while we didn’t do anything crazy or exciting I enjoyed getting to spend a couple of hours with her Saturday night. Someone messaged me on Instagram commenting on the fact that Asher seems like such an old soul, so mature for her age, and it’s so true. She’s only eleven but can keep a good conversation with just about any adult. Truly a special little girl.

dough log after slicing in half lengthwise

(dough log after slicing in half lengthwise)

dough log sliced in half and twisted to show the inside before braiding

With September here, my focus has shifted to a bit to cozier recipes. Recipes that are perfect for things like Sunday night dinner with the family, a simple gathering with friends, or tailgating before Sunday’s game (can you believe football starts on Thursday?).

Enter in this swirled garlic herb bread. It’s so pretty and so delicious. It’s going to be perfect for all your upcoming Sunday night family dinners, and gatherings with friends on fall evenings.

And the best part…while I mean, aside from the taste…while this bread may look super complicated to make, it’s really fairly simple. If you’re a visual person like me, the pictures within this post are going to be VERY helpful, so study them closely.

Swirled Garlic Herb Bread before baking

(dough after twisting)

Swirled Garlic Herb Bread | halfbakedharvest.com #garlicbread #herbbread #homemadebread

(dough after the 1st coil)

Swirled Garlic Herb Bread on counter before baking

With that, let me tell you about all the little details of this swirly, herby bread.

First, the dough. I used my go-to base dough recipe for soft breads. It’s kind of a mix between an eggy brioche bread and a more simple dinner roll type bread. It has your basic bread dough ingredients – milk, yeast, a touch of honey, eggs, flour, butter, and salt. Nothing new here, but yet still so good.

The real flavor in this bread is hidden between the layers. Or better yet, between the swirls, and it’s in the form of herb butter with garlic. The classic go-to flavors that I am craving so much of right now…

Well, that and the fact our herb garden is so full of end of summer herbs. So full that some of the basil is blossoming and becoming dry. Meaning, I need to use it up fast. So that’s kind of the reason for all the herb-filled recipes as of late. The good news is that I love herbs and I don’t mind using them in literally everything…even my cocktails.

overhead photo of Swirled Garlic Herb Bread before slicing

For the butter, I used a mix of basil, thyme, and sage, BUT you all can use whatever herb combination you love most. I’m sure a touch of oregano or maybe some parsley would be great!

And another note…use salted butter and only just the right amount of garlic. The salted butter is key because it adds that special touch that makes everyone go back for a second slice, or two. For the garlic, I like to use 1-2 cloves. You want the flavor, but you don’t want it to overpower the bread, just a subtle hint.

close up photo of Swirled Garlic Herb Bread

Now, the rolling and twisting process.

I promise, this is not as scary as it looks. If you’ve made cinnamon rolls before you can make and shape this bread.

You’ll start out by rolling the dough up into a log. Then you simply cut the log in half vertically to expose those pretty, herby, buttery layers. Now, twist the two the pieces of dough over each other to create a loose twist. And finally, coil the dough up into a shape that resembles an S. Again, the words make it seem trickier than it really is. Use the photos as your guide, I’m telling you, they will help so much!!

Once you have the bread shaped, let it rise, and then bake. Please, please, please, enjoy this warm, right out of the oven, and preferably with a light smear of butter too.

overhead photo of Swirled Garlic Herb Bread with multiple slices cut

SO GOOD. Oh, and the smell while this bakes? It. Is. Heavenly.

What every special dinner from now through December really needs…a side of pretty, swirled, garlic herb bread. I’d recommend serving this alongside one of my favorite September recipes, instant pot broccoli cheddar zucchini soup.

My suggestion? Bake this bread over the weekend for Sunday night dinner, then have fresh bread for snacking all week long. The leftovers are delicious lightly toasted, warmed in the oven, or even served room temp.

overhead photo of Swirled Garlic Herb Bread slices

If you make this swirled garlic herb bread be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!

Swirled Garlic Herb Bread | halfbakedharvest.com #garlicbread #herbbread #homemadebread
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4.58 from 61 votes
The Recipe

Swirled Garlic Herb Bread.

This light, doughy, super soft bread is swirled with herb butter and hinted with garlic. A delicious, extra fancy companion to your dinner table...easy, but impressive!

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 35 minutes
Servings 10

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup warm whole milk
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 1/2 - 4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 6 tablespoons salted butter, at room temperature, plus more for serving
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, grated or finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage

Instructions

  1. 1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the milk, yeast, honey, eggs, 3 1/2 cups flour, and salt. Using the dough hook, mix until the flour is completely incorporated, about 4-5 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons room temp butter and mix until combined, about 2-3 minutes more. If the dough is still sticky, add the additional 1/2 cup flour, adding more as needed until the dough is smooth to touch.

    2. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 1 hour or until doubled in size.

    3. Meanwhile, combine the remaining 4 tablespoons butter, the garlic, parmesan, basil, sage, and thyme in a small bowl.

    4. Punch the dough down and roll out onto a lightly floured surface, creating a large rectangle about 12 x 18 inches. Spread the garlic herb butter evenly over the dough. Starting with the long edge closest to you, roll the dough into a log, keeping it fairly tight as you go. When you reach the edge, pinch along the edge to seal. 

    5. Using a sharp knife, cut the log of dough in half lengthwise, leaving a small portion at one end intact (see above photo). Turn the halves to expose the filling. Cross the dough ropes over each other, repeating the twisting until you have a long, twisted dough.

    6. Coil half the rope up like a snake, stopping when you reach halfway. Then, coil the second half of the rope in the opposite direction (see above photo). Carefully transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 45 minutes.

    7. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Transfer the bread to the oven and bake 30-35 minutes, until the top is golden brown and the bread is cooked through. Brush the top of the loaf with butter. Slice and serve warm...with additional butter.

Recipe Notes

To Make Ahead: prepare the bread through step 6. Once the bread is shaped, place it on a parchment lined baking sheet, cover, and place in the fridge for up to 2 days. When ready to bake, remove the bread from the fridge 1 hour prior to baking, then bake as directed. 

To Freeze: bake the bread as directed and allow to cool completely. Once cool, wrap the bread tightly with plastic wrap, then transfer to a freezer safe container. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw on the counter and warm or toast before serving.

Leftovers: the bread is best served warm after baking, but the leftover bread is delicious when lightly toasted or served at room temperature. 

horizontal photo of Swirled Garlic Herb Bread