I love wine. So much so I have a Christine Alexander top that states, “Wines Constantly.”
And I love bread. However I do not, and do not plan to, own a top that states, “Full of Sugar and Doubles in Size.”
I’ll leave grapes & fashion to combine and, well, I’ll just eat the bread. Occasionally I think I can actually BAKE bread. I feel so pioneer-like and domestic when I get the urge to create a loaf. The ingredients are simple, of course, as is the concept. Flour, sugar, yeast & liquid; mixed together and allowed to rest; eventually turned out & kneaded; baked & enjoyed. Yet somehow the whole kneading thing intimidates me so I shy away from regular bread baking.
However, I have found two fantastically delicious and incredibly easy recipes that I feel confident AND happy with the results every time. The first recipe is from the Summer 2010 issue of Sendik’s Real Food Magazine. The link is not available for the entire magazine, so I have retyped the entire recipe to follow.
Smoked Cheddar Cheese Bread
Makes 1 Large Loaf
Cubes of smoked Cheddar cheese form pockets of melted cheese and a crisp browned cheese crust all around this loaf. Try this bread toasted or use it to make the best grilled-cheese Panini you have ever tasted.
Cubes of other cheese work well, too. Smoked mozzarella, sharp Cheddar or Swiss cheese make good choices.
This recipe uses instant yeast for a faster rise.
1 c. whole milk
2¾ c. AP flour
1 tbsp granulated sugar
½ tsp salt
2¼ instant (fast-rise) yeast (one 7-gram packet)
1 large egg
8 ounces smoked Cheddar cheese, cut in to ½-to-¾-inch pieces
1 tbsp butter, melted, plus more for pan
1. Butter a 9X5X3 loaf pan or a loaf pan with a capacity of 8 cups. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper.
2. In a saucepan, heat the milk over medium heat until the mixture is hot and measures about 130ºF on a food thermometer.
3. In the large bowl of an electric mixer on low speed, mix together 1 cup of the flour, sugar, salt, and yeast. Mix in the hot milk to combine the ingredients smoothly. Add the egg and continue beating for 2 minutes. Add the remaining flour and continue mixing for 5 minutes. The dough will be soft, but will come away from the sides of the bowl.
4. Scrap the dough onto a lightly floured surface and sprinkle with the cheese pieces. Push and fold the dough over itself several times to distribute the cheese. Some pieces of cheese will poke out of the dough. The dough will firm slightly as the cheese is worked into it.
5. Use your hands to pat the dough into a loaf and fit it into the pan. The loaf will not completely fill the pan. Brush the top with one tablespoon melted butter. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise to within an inch of the top of the pan, about 45 minutes.
6. When the dough has risen for 25 minutes, preheat the oven to 375ºF.
7. Bake until the top feels firm and is lightly browned, about 45 minutes. Cook pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then use a sharp knife to loosen the bread from the pan. Turn out onto the wire rack to cool thoroughly.
8. The bread can be stored in a plastic bag at room temperature for up to three days.
The next recipe is from one of my favorite sites, Real Mom Kitchen. I love her recipes because they don’t require graduation from Le Cordon Bleu or a hundred ingredients that you’ll never use again but for that one recipe. The bread recipe follows her foccacia sandwich recipe. This bread lasted about a day and a half in our house, and I also discovered it is delish lightly toasted. Enjoy!