Cheese, Cinnamon BREAD
Let’s get back to baking. Yay! If you recall, I do not (yet) own a super-expensive Kitchen-Aid mixer. So, I have to look out for baking recipes I can do by hand with my own muscles. My kitchen is sparse, but it turns out my dining room table is the perfect height and surface for kneading. Big win!
These two breads are easy, fun, and delicious. Achieving the perfect “twist” does take some practice. It reminded me of grade school ceramics! Don’t change out the bread flour for all-purpose. It creates a heavier gluten that is important to hold the bread together. And don’t sub milk or half and half for the buttermilk. It’s essential!
Sally’s Baking Addiction is my go-to for recipes, because flavor and textures are perfect. Super moist, yummy and satisfying. I don’t eat much bread, so it needs to be AMAZING. Good bakeries, if you have one near, are expensive on a regular basis, and big box stores are just tasteless.
These two loaves can be eaten over the work week (if they last that long). Make a couple extra and put them in the freezer. The cheese bread is brilliant toasted, and the cinnamon crunch bread is super nuked in the microwave for about 10 seconds. Best of all, they are so flavorful, you don’t even need butter, cream cheese, or jam.
Soft Cheese Bread
Makes one loaf
1/2 cup buttermilk, warmed to about 110°F
1/3 cup water, warmed to about 110°F
2 and 1/4 teaspoons yeast (1 standard packet)
2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
5 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted + slightly cooled
1 large egg, at room temperature1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
3 cups bread flour
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese (see note)
2 Tablespoons (unsalted butter, melted
2 teaspoons chopped favorite herb (or ½ teaspoon dried)
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
Prepare the dough: Whisk the warm buttermilk, warm water, yeast, and sugar together in the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with a dough hook or paddle attachment. Cover and allow to sit for 5 minutes.
Add the butter, egg, salt, garlic powder, and 1 cup flour. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds, scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, then add the remaining flour. Beat on low speed until the dough comes together and pulls away from the sides of the bowl, about 2 minutes. *If you do not own a mixer, you can mix this dough with a large wooden spoon or rubber spatula.
Knead the dough: Keep the dough in the mixer and beat on low speed for an additional 2 minutes or knead by hand on a lightly floured surface for 2 minutes.
1st Rise: Lightly grease a large bowl with oil or nonstick spray. Place the dough in the bowl, turning it to coat all sides in the oil. Cover the bowl with aluminum foil, plastic wrap, or a clean kitchen towel. Allow the dough to rise in a relatively warm environment for 1.5-2 hours or until double in size.
Grease a 9×5-inch loaf pan.
Shape the bread: Punch down the dough to release the air. Place dough on a lightly floured work surface and with a floured rolling pin, roll the dough out into a 9×15-inch rectangle (approximately). Sprinkle cheese all over the top, leaving a ½-inch border uncovered.
Tightly roll the dough into a 15-inch log. Place the log on its seam. Using a sharp knife, cut the log in half lengthwise. I find a serrated knife works best. Criss-cross one half, cut side down, on top of the other half– forming an X. Tightly twist the two together. Pinch the outer edges to seal as best you can. If you have any leftover cheese, cut a few small squares and tuck into the dough. This is optional and simply for extra cheesy pockets! Place in prepared loaf pan and cover with aluminum foil, plastic wrap, or a clean kitchen towel. (This step can get a little messy.)
Allow the covered loaf to rest for 30 minutes. It will slightly rise during this time.
Adjust the oven rack to the lower third position. Place a baking sheet on the lower rack to catch any cheese or butter that may drip down. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Topping: Whisk the melted butter, herbs, and garlic powder together. Drizzle or brush on top of dough.
Bake: Bake until golden brown and, when gently tapped, the top of the loaf sounds hollow, about 45-55 minutes. If you find the top of the loaf is browning too quickly as it bakes, tent with aluminum foil. (I usually place foil on top after about 25 minutes.) Remove bread from the oven and place on a wire rack. Cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then remove from the pan and cool loaf on the wire rack.
Slice and serve. Cover and store leftovers at room temperature for 2 days or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Leftover slices taste delicious when warmed in the microwave for 10 seconds.
Cinnamon Crunch Bread
Prepare and bake dough the same as the Cheese Bread.
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, extra soft
1/3 cup (67g) packed light or dark brown sugar
1 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Whisk and spread on rolled dough instead of cheese.
Cinnamon Crunch Topping:
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/3 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
1 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons all-purpose flour or bread flour
Whisk and sprinkle topping instead of cheese and herbs.
-adapted from sallysbakingaddiction.com