Appetite City: Schrafft’s Cheese Bread

Appetite City: Diners

I’m not old enough to know diddly about Schrafft’s, the New York City restaurant chain, first hand; but everyone who does always remembers the cheese bread.   There’s only one known recipe for the famous cheese bread and it looks like this: This document was dug up by Joan Kanel Slomanson, the author of When Everybody Ate at Schrafft’s: Memories, Pictures, and Recipes from a Very Special Restaurant Empire.  It gives the proportions to make cheese bread on an industrial scale; it seems like it would be simple to just scale it down, right?  Wrong!  The problem is the mystery ingredient: cheese tang! So what is a cheese tang? No one seems to know, or remember.  It was allegedly produced by Kraft, and some researchers have gone as far as to call the Kraft company and ask about it.  No one has any memory of its existance. With the loss of cheese tang, Schrafft’s cheese bread is gone to the ages. Hold the phone.  Time to do some deductive reasoning.  You know what else Kraft makes? Tang.  Like, orange Tang, that went up with the astronauts.  Tang is a bright orange, orange-flavored powder.  So perhaps cheese Tang is a bright orange, cheese-flavored powder.  Now in what Kraft product can one get bright orange, cheese-flavored powder?

This is my theory and I think it’s a good one!  At any rate, the bread made with Mac N’ Cheese powder is phenomenal and will be devoured within minutes of exiting your oven.  Should you have some left overs, toast it before consumption: it’s best warm.

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Schrafft’s Cheese Bread
Adapted from the original Schrafft’s recipe, as reprinted in When Everybody Ate at Schrafft’s: Memories, Pictures, and Recipes from a Very Special Restaurant Empire by Joan Kanel Slomanson, published 2007.

1 package dry active yeast
1 ¾ cups warm water
2 tsp salt
1 ½ tsp sugar
1 tsp – 1/4 cup powdered cheese (depending on desired cheesiness); either from a Mac & Cheese box, or from online
3.5 cups flour
1 cup grated sharp cheddar.
1. In a large bowl, combine yeast and ½ cup warm water. Stir to dissolve yeast. Mix remaining water with salt; stir to dissolve.  Pour over yeast and set aside.
2. In another bowl, sift together flour, sugar, and cheese powder.
3. Add flour mixture to yeast and water, one cup at a time.  When the dough becomes hard to stir, turn out onto a floured work surface.  Let dough rest while you clean out the bowls.
4. Knead dough for ten minutes, adding more flour if necessary, until dough is smooth and elastic.  Up to another 1 1/2 cups can be incorporated here.
5. Butter a bowl and place dough inside; let rise until it has tripled in size, 2-3 hours.  Punch down risen dough and turn out onto work surface.  Sprinkle grated cheese all over.  Roll the dough up and knead just long enough to incorporate cheese.  Swirls of cheese in the baked loaf are not a bad thing!
6. Grease two loaf pans; plop dough inside. Cover each with a kitchen towel and let rise 45 minutes.  Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
7. Put loaves in oven.  After 15 minutes, turn down heat to 350 degrees and let bake for 10 more minutes.  Cool on racks.
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P.S. – this bread is total munchies food!
A delicious loaf of cheese bread.

 

38 Responses to “Appetite City: Schrafft’s Cheese Bread”


  • I think your guess about cheese tang is a good one. King Arthur Flour also makes “Vermont Cheese Powder”.

  • am making this bread tonight…am to the point where I am waiting for the two separate loaves to rise. cannot wait to try it! love your blog!!

  • Please let me know how it turns out!

  • well the verdict is in…and this bread fresh out of the oven is sinfully delicious! it’s great with roast beef on it, as well as lightly toasted and buttered. I would like to make it again with minced garlic worked into the dough with the shredded cheese! Thank you (although my waistline might not be thankful LOL) for the fantastic recipe – very easy to make!

  • Oddly, I stumbled across this page just days after baking my first cheese bread in a couple of decades. I had a recipe I had from an old newspaper clipping, somewhere in the NYC area. Maybe the NY Post? Not as bright orange as Schrafft’s but tasty. Here’s the recipe, it is not my original recipe so feel free not to post it if that would be wrong. Just wanted you to see it.
    Cheese Bread (Schrafft’s inspired)

    2 cups milk
    2 TBLS butter
    3 cups grated cheddar cheese (@ 8 oz)
    Heat together until cheese is melted
    Cool slightly

    Stir together
    2 cups flour
    1 envelope dry yeast
    1 TBLS sugar
    2 tsps salt

    Add milk mixture and beat until smooth
    Add enough additional flour (up to3 ½ cups) beating until dough cleans side of bowl
    Knead on floured board (or in mixer) until smooth and shiny
    Cover; let rise in large bowl until doubled in size.
    Punch down, knead @ 10 times and form two loaves. Place in pans ( 3 ½ x 7 x 2 ½ loaf pans)
    Bake at 375 for 45 minutes.

  • Wow, thanks for this! I started baking this bread last year at the request of my aunt. I found a great recipe here: http://bit.ly/vkbJfK but never the official one. And yes, with a slice of roast beef it’s out of this world!

  • I tried this recipe over Christmas and it was phenomenal.. I also modified it and incorporated roasted garlic for dinner with lasagna and it came out great. It was easy and made me look Like a master baker… Thank you

  • hi i tried making bread with milk but i really didnt like it because the milk makes the bread taste like cake or biscuits it didnt really taste like bread at all was to cake like i will rather just try making bread with water instead of milk please let me know if u agree with milk not being in bread recipies i perfer water instead of milf when it comes to making breads i do in fact use milk when i do make biscuits….thank u

    • I think if you like water, go for water!

      • it has nothing to do with the fact that someone likes water that has nothing to do with what i was trying to say….i was just telling u that u cant expect bread to taste like bread if u put milk,milk is not really put in bread only in bisqiuts or muffins etc etc etc……milk gives bread cake like texture………..if u r making a bread that u put fruits and nuts in then yes u use milk but u dont use milk in a plain bread and many people want the real bread texture not bread cake texture i am teaching u whats what…….thats all……..

  • Ok now I have to try this with a gluten free flour mix. Has anyone else tried it yet and have any tips for me?

  • Hi,

    Thanks so much for the information about substituting the Kraft cheese powder for Cheese Tang. My father, George Le Sauvage worked for Schrafft’s for years and made the cheese bread at home for the Church Fair, friends and family. In fact he has the original production card document that was dug up by Joan that you imaged on your website!
    Dad made his last batch of cheese bread just before he died in 2001. Unfortunately he was frustrated by the result since he could no longer buy Cheese Tang :(
    Now that I know I can substitute the Kraft powder for Cheese Tang, I’ll try to carry out Dad’s tradition and make Cheese Bread for friends and family. Thanks so much for you advice.
    Best regards,
    Faith Goedde

    • Since you’ve had experience with the original bread, I’d be interested to here how the Kraft mac and cheese powder measures up! My roommates always save the powder for me so I can make them cheese bread.

  • Started this project about 4:30 p.m. the loaves just came out of the oven a few minutes ago. They smell heavenly, but do not look near as “orange/yellow” as yours. I hope it tastes as good as it smells! Thanks! P.S. Are you going to be appearing in any more neat shows like appetite city? just wondering.

    • So how did they taste in the end? My actually weren’t too orangy…and I think the color mostly came from the grated cheese, not the tang.

      At the moment I don’t have any tv food appearances on the radar, but I’m doing a lot of events locally in NYC, and I’d love to expand to Boston and DC. And who knows! Things are ever expanding in the FPF world.

      And thanks for caring!

      • My family and I downed half of the first loaf just before bed that night…talk about cheesy dreams! The next day, my wife served her version of a Sloppy Joe over toasted slices..it was out of this world delicious!

  • Kraft sells the powdered cheese separately in 1 lb bulk. So you dont have to buy the mac &cheese just to get the “cheese tang.”. Google search for “kraft powdered cheese” to find out how to get it.

  • My mother-in-law told me about this recipe, thank you for having it up here!! I’ve already made it twice this week and blogged about it, too – http://tamdoll.blogspot.com/2012/03/sweets-shopping-bread.html. My mom was excited to remember the restaurant when I mentioned it to her also, but I had never been.

  • I went to college in NYC in the 50′s and ate at Schraff’s every day…a ham salad sandwich on cheese bread. I think it was 35 cents. If you have the recipe for the ham salad I surely would appreciate it. I am 80 yrs. old now and have just started cooking again in earnest. I would love to capture the memory of this sandwich. Thanks for the cheese bread recipes.

  • I don’t have it, but I am pretty sure it’s in the book When Everybody ate at Schrafft’s by Joan Kanel Slomanson, published 2007. try there!

  • I got a Kitchenaid mixer from my husband for Christmas. I found this by accident, and am very excited to make it. The story about the recipe and cheese tang was entertaining!

  • I was a very little girl when my cherished Aunt Pat would treat me to a day ‘downtown’, and we would shop at B.Altman. We would then have a ‘lady lunch’ at Schrafft’s. The cheese bread was always a special part of those days. I am thrilled that I can try to replicate the bread and relive the experience of my childhood. Thank you so very much.

  • Baked the bread up this afternoon and my kids devoured it when they got home from school!….it was so good…and it was so easy to make…thank you so much for the recipe….my dream is to go to New York someday but until that day comes….if it ever does…..I’ll keep on making the bread and adding to my list of things to do in the Big Apple!

  • Baked the bread and used parmesan and garlic grated cheese. And rolled it in parmesan and romano cheese as well as shredded mozzarella cheese. It was a hit. Everyone left very satisfied. I don’t have any left for myself. I will definitely be baking it again.

  • My remembrance of Schrafft’s cheese bread is as a sandwich of toasted bread and rather plain tuna salad (a bit of scallion, mayo, no celery, capers or herb). But where did I often eat it? Can’t remember,

  • Mad Men sparked a memory of Schrafft’s in me and I found this site. My dad worked there for many years and brought the best of their many products home for the family to enjoy. I have missed the cheese bread so very much and tried other brands to fill this void but never found the match. I will have to try this recipe.
    My only comment, at this point, is that the Schrafft’s loaf did not have a swirl of color in it. But as a loaf, a consistent very orange, cheddar like, color. And a small loaf of thinly sliced bread, not very different from Pepperage Farm brand shape and slices. And the favored way to eat it was toasted and buttered.
    Thank you all for sharing these tasty secrets.
    Tom Southwell
    Hollywood, California

  • My mother was a baker at Schraffts in Boston. She said they made the cheese bread with powdered cheddar cheese. I don’t remember her using the word tang, So it can’t vouch for that. I’ve made it with the powdered cheese from the Kraft Macaroni and Cheese box, And it was delicious. Then I started buying powdered cheese in bulk which was very similar and made a delicious “Schrafft’s” cheese bread.

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