Bread #34 Cheese Bread

Despite my attempts to develop sophisticated palettes around here, the vote for this here classic as a favorite is clear; Cheese bread.  So delicious it’s not fair.  The white flour, the airy fluffy texture, and well… the cheese, all make for quite seriously the most amazing grilled cheese sandwich, egg in a basket, or midnight snack imaginable.  This loaf is quite simple, you can use what you have, and surely you won’t be disappointed.

Cheese Bread From Beard on Bread

Dissolve 2.5 tsp. of yeast with 1 tbsp. of sugar in 1.4 cup of warm water.  Proof.  Mix flour with salt in a separate bowl.  Making a well in the center mix in 1.5 cups of warm water, 1/4 cup of softened butter, 1 tsp. of tabasco and the yeast mixture.  Stir with wooden spoon into it is amalgamated. Amalgamated? Yes.  Amalgamated.  Mr. Beard improves my vocabulary.  Knead for 10-12 minutes adding in flour as needed.  Turn into a buttered bowl and let rise for about 2 hours until doubled in size.

Punch down and knead 1/4 parm and 3/4 cup of swiss or Gruyère.  I had neither, so I used a full cup of Monterrey jack.  Cut the dough in half and let rest for ten minutes.  Roll each half into a rectangle and then into a loaf pinching and tucking the sides as you go.  Place into a well buttered bread pan.  Let rise once again until the loaf has come to about an inch over the top of the pan.

Bake in a 375 degree oven for thirty minutes until it sounds quite hollow.  It is nice to take them out of the pans and let them crisp up for the last few minutes in the oven.  This crust turns out to be a very soft one regardless.

Butter up, toast, or grill, this one is a winner.

bread #26 italian feather loaf

A few friends and their two sweet little twin boys joined us out in the country for supper this past weekend.  Knowing that I needed to keep the meal light, easy, dairy free, egg free, and of course good, I decided on a this loaf.

I brushed only one with the egg wash because of the allergy.  You will notice there is some butter in this bread, I was informed that dairy is ok in tiny amounts.  This was a nice light loaf, just like the name!  Perfect for toasting. Perfect for the poppy-seed and goat cheese spread to be layered with a lima bean gratin I had prepared.  For the gratin I just made a lemon vinaigrette and tossed in a sliced bell pepper, a sliced red onion that had been soaked in cold water for 20 minutes, and some boiled and cooled lima beans.  The goat cheese spread was just goat cheese a touch of water (or milk) to make it easier to spread mixed with a few scoops of poppy seeds.  I served it alongside a cold honey dew and basil soup with these cute little skewers of melon balls and mozzarella wrapped procsuitto.  Minus the cheese for those allergic of course.  Skewering is a perfect way for an almost three year old to help in the kitchen.  It is worth their satisfaction despite the obvious danger.  I promise, they really aren’t that sharp.

From Beard on Bread

Italian Feather loaf

Dissolve 4.5 tsp. of dry active yeast in one cup of warm water with 1 tbsp. of sugar.  I have been using organic cane sugar.  It has an extra crunch in your crumbles and buckles and you can feel a teeny bit better about sugar in general.  Minus the cost of course.  Meanwhile melt 1/3 cup of butter in 3/4 cup of hot water.  Add the salt then combine with the yeast mixture.  It will fizz and bubble.  Cool.  Begin stirring in the flour one cup at a time.  Up to 6 cups apparently but to be honest I couldn’t get it to go past 4.5 before the dough was ready to be kneaded.  So I did what I do, and I folded and smashed that dough for about four minutes.  Let it rest for five then, slice into two equal parts, and form a loaf with each one.  Folding a loaf, if I have not mentioned before is like folding a rectangle into thirds and sealing each part.  Then roll in into the complete log sealing the edges.  Place on a greased sheet tray, cover with a towel and wait about an hour or until doubled in size.  Brush with egg wash (if you want to, it does give it a nice shine) and bake at 425 for 40 minutes or until the loaf sounds hollow.

Here I have a confession.  For about 20 of these breads I had a thermometer to see when the bread was done.  190 is a good temp.  But then, I lost it.  So, since then I really have been thump thumping on those loaves with my head leaned down hoping for a good hollow sound.  Well, this one is easy to tell.  Try it!  It’s fun and you feel all professional and what not.

All of the sudden, 27 breads later, baking bread has become a part of life.  It was exciting at the beginning, then it started to feel like a chore, and now it just is.  And I like that.

Try it toasted with marscapone and jam.

sweet potato pie, shut my mouth

Well more like biscuits.  Sweet potato biscuits.  James Beard has come through again!  I have officially decided to discontinue renewing Beard on Bread from the library and break down and purchase it.  I have made at least a dozen recipes from it and they have all turned out fantastic. There are also so many more interesting ones to try!  At this rate I may be photo copying the whole book so I figure why not?  The dough is this fantastic pinky-peach color that is unlike any other bread I have made.  It is hard to tell from the photograph though.

They are impossibly moist in the middle with lots of little pockets of air.  So fluffy!   They take a considerably small amount of time to make with only two short risings.  I even forgot to let them rise a second time and they turned out magnificent anyways.  Another perk is that when pureeing the sweet potato I decided to give Rowan a little taster and what do you know the boy took to it!  He just has an aversion to the cardboard rice cereal but be ready for some solids after all?  Smart boy.

We at them with supper last night and they were equally delicious as egg sandwiches this morning.  Yumm.  Sweet potatoes.

2 packages of yeast

4 tbs. sugar

1/2 cup warm water

3 tbs. melted butter

1 tbs. salt

3 eggs

3-3 1/2 cups flour

1/2 cup pureed sweet potato (or any winter squash)

2 tbs. cream

Combine yeast with 1 tbs. sugar and warm water.  proof.  Add remaining sugar, butter, salt and 2 of the eggs to the yeast misture, stir.  Stir in flour then sweet potatoes.  knead for 2-3 minutes. Let rise in a buttered uncovered bowl until doubled in size.  Punch down then shape into balls about the size of a golf ball about a 1/4  inch apart.  Let rise until doubled.  Brush with remaining egg and cream.  Bake in a preheated oven at 375 for about 20 minutes.  Enjoy!

On a side note, my outfit must have sparked a small amount of pity yesterday…. My friend from yesterdays story brought by some gripe water for Rowan and a water bottle for me just out of the blue.  Very sweet she is.  It is good to have some people looking out for you I believe.  Even if it is because you occasionally dress like a cracked out 80’s rock star.

Beard on Bread

What a great smile this man has!  I found this awesome bread book, Beard on bread, at the library and gave one of the recipes a whirl to go with our supper last night.

First of let me tell you what a joy it is to have a few moments at the library to check out any book I wish.  When at the library with Miles it’s always…an adventure lets say.  I basically grab any book off the shelf that I can shove quickly into our bag and pray that he doesnt go berserk or Rowan doesn’t lose it (or both!) while we check out.  But, needless to say, my every other Tuesday night book/knitting club has yet another perk; choosing my own book thoughtfully!

Beard on Bread is definitly a complete bread baking book with out all the confusion of complicated steps.  He sort of leaves you guessing.  No thermometers to see if bread is done, no times for rising, just trial and error.  Plain and simple.  And as frustrating for the by the book direction follower (not me) he is right, that is the best way I have learned to make bread.  This is certainly not the case with say… knitting but I seem to follow suit for this activity as well.

For instance, I will be using less flour next time,  I will bake it for about five minutes less I believe, and instead of the tablespoon and a half of course salt it calls for, I think I will just use the half.  But, other than that it was quite delicious.  The best part of bread making is the smell anyways.  I hope when my boys smell fresh bread baking they think of their childhood.  I often remember a loaf of bread on our radiator rising during the winter months and it always brings a smile to my face.  Ahhh…it’s getting cold and it felt good to have the oven working hard yesterday.  So long as the the weather is cold and the sky is grey I will continue baking the bread.  That is for sure.  It’s my favorite cold weather hobby, hands down.  Miles too:)  He is becoming quite the cook.  When he not busy caring for his little one of course.