Today’s offering is yet another recipe from my handy-dandy Fleischmann’s Yeast cookbook (their yeast is way too expensive, but their cookbook is great!). I’ve modified it a bit to fit my preferences, but the bones of the recipe are from Fleischmann’s.
Because 6 ounces of cheese is required for two medium-sized loaves, this is perhaps not the most frugal bread ever, but it is really tasty. Since the cheese is not standing on its own, I do not find it necessary to use really high dollar cheese (not that I really ever buy high dollar cheese), so this bread doesn’t have to be exorbitantly expensive. The $1.50 block of cheddar from Aldi works just fine.
And though the recipe calls for sharp cheddar, I’ve also had good success with mild cheddar cheese, and even Colby cheese. You could even combine the random bits of shreddable cheese hanging around your fridge and use them up in this loaf.
As with most of my recipes, this one starts with flour, sugar, yeast, and salt.
Add warm water and milk, and beat for several minutes.
Add enough of the remaining flour to make a soft but manageable dough. Turn out onto a floured surface, and knead in cheese, 1/2 cup or so at a time. By the time you get the cheese thoroughly incorporated, the dough should be sufficiently kneaded.
(Alternatively, you can stir the cheese into the dough before you turn it out onto the floured surface. This will break up the cheese a bit more, but it’s an awful lot easier.)
This dough feels really, really strange when you knead it, thanks to the cheese, and it looks kind of funny too.
Cover the dough and let it rise for about an hour, or until it’s doubled in size. After the dough has risen, punch it down, divide it into six pieces, and roll each piece into a 12-14 inch rope.
Braid three strands and place on a greased baking sheet. Repeat with remaining three strands.
Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30-45 minutes.
If desired, sprinkle with additional cheese. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes, or until lightly browned.
And here’s a peek inside the bread…you can see all the little flecks of cheese. It’s tasty as is, but the cheese flavor is especially good if you toast your slices before eating them. And toasted, buttered slices make a lovely accompaniment to a pot of homemade soup.
Braided Cheese Bread-makes 2 loaves
3.5 to 4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup water
1/3 cup milk
1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) grated sharp cheddar cheese
In mixer bowl, combine 1.5 cups flour with the sugar, yeast, and salt. Heat water and milk to 120 degrees F, and add to dry ingredients. Beat for 3 minutes, and add enough of the remaining flour to make a soft dough.
Turn out onto a floured surface and knead in cheese, 1/2 cup at a time. Place kneaded dough into a bowl, cover with a wet tea towel, and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour, or until doubled.
Punch dough down and divide into 6 pieces. Roll each piece into a 12-14 inch rope. Braid three ropes together and place on a greased baking sheet. Repeat with remaining three ropes. Cover braids and let rise until doubled, 30-45 minutes.
Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned. Let cool on a wire rack.