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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Scrumptious Cheese Bread

Scrumptious Cheese Bread

Makes two loaves – 24 slices each – 75-95 calories a slice

Estimated prep/cooking time: 2 ½ hours (most of which is wait time for rising or baking)


  • 6 to 7 cups of Bread Flour (you can use all-purpose flour, but it just seems to taste better with bread flour – unbleached)
  • 1 tablespoon of Salt
  • 3 tablespoons of Sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of Basil
  • 1/3 cup of oat meal
  • ¼ cup of chopped onion (the dried spice type – if you use fresh onion, cut back a little)
  • 2 tablespoons of Shortening
  • 2 packages of regular or quick acting active dry yeast (or 1 ½ tablespoons of yeast)
  • 2 ½ cups of VERY warm water (120 – 130 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • For later – ½ cup of shredded cheese – your choice of type
  • 2 – 8 ½ x 4 ½ x 2 ½ inch loaf pans (greased)

First Step: Mix about 3 ¼ cups of the flour, the sugar, salt, yeast, onion, basic, and oat meal – use a dough cutter to be sure that the shortening mixes in well – if you don’t have a dough cutter, use a fork to be sure the shortening gets broken up well.

Second Step: Next using an electric hand beater, add all the water and mix with beater for 2 minutes on medium-low speed. Scrap the bowl plenty! If, while mixing, the dough becomes too thick – add a couple tablespoons of water.

Third Step: The dough should be a thick, but liquid enough mixture that slides from the spoon, not drops. At this stage, add a cup of flour at a time and stir with a spoon until it comes to a consistency you can handle with your hands.

Fourth Step: When to the right consistency mentioned above, add flour to a surface, upend dough onto the floured surface and knead for 10 minutes until smooth and stretchy in its consistency. (Five minutes should be enough though)

Fifth Step: Add flour to the bottom of the bowl just used for mixed and add the recently kneaded dough – set in a semi-warm place – cover with a towel.

Sixth Step: Let the dough rise for at LEAST an HOUR – no less. Dough will probably rise above the rim of the bowl.

Seventh Step: An hour later – punch down dough (punch down: to press your fist into the direct center of the risen dough straight down to the bottom, angle outward, and lift up and out from the bowl – the dough will be draped around your fist as you lift it out.

Eighth Step: Set the recently punched dough onto a floured surface – separate into two equal amounts. Leave the two pieces for 5 minutes to rest.

Ninth Step: Next, using a rolling pin, stretch out each piece into a 9”x18” flat piece. The easiest way to get this into a rectangular shape, grab the piece, get shaped into a general round 12 inch long piece, and begin rolling out – using the corners of the piece to help stretch towards a rectangular shape.

Tenth Step: Once rolled out – add half the shredded cheese to the top 2/3’s of the rectangle – next, using the end closest to you, fold 1/3 onto 1/3:

Eleventh Step: Next, you can use the folded end to start wrapping into a roll (tightly).

Twelfth Step: Once wrapped, pinch the flat edge to the roll of dough to close it off. It won’t look nice where it’s been pinched closed against itself, but the good news is that you’ll be turning the roll to make the pinched crease facing down.

Thirteenth Step: Once the creased edge is facing down, the two ends still show the roll. To finish off the shaping of the loaf, make your hand flat, use the edge of your palm (pinkie to wrist) to press in a chopping motion, straight down on the ends – you’ll have some dough on the other side of your hand – fold these flaps under the loaf.

Fourteenth Step: Place the newly shaped loaf into a greased loaf pan – place in a warm spot and cover to allow rising while repeating steps 9 thru 13 on the second piece of dough.

Fifteenth Step: Once both of the pieces of dough are formed into loaves and placed in the loaf pans, let rise for 35 to 50 minutes (or until double).

Sixteenth Step: Once close to being done with rising – preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.

Seventeenth Step: Once pre-heated, place loaves on the top most shelf of the oven, as close to the center as possible.

Eighteenth Step: Bake 25-30 minutes, until golden brown and hollow sounds when tapped with the flat edge of a knife.

Nineteenth Step: When done, remove from oven, immediate remove bread from pans and allow cooling for 1+ hour before slicing up. If desired, brush top of the loaf with melted butter.

Tip for slicing – be sure to let the knife do the cutting. Meaning? Use a nice bread knife – if you are not sure, use a nicely serrated edged knife – and all the edge to do the slicing by using a ginger back and forth motion. Sometimes even using the slicing at a 45 degree angle from the side is fairly more effective than straight across the top.

Bread keeps for about 14 days in the fridge, 7 days outside the fridge, several months in the freezer.

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