I know I’ve made my feelings about cheesy bread known many, many times. I can’t stop, won’t stop making delicious cheese breads! Normally I go for crusty bread, but this time I ventured into the realm of soft bread more suited for sandwiches. For instance, with either of these babies you could make the most decadent grilled cheese of all time, with cheese both inside the sandwich and inside the bread. Nom!
My two loaves were cheddar jalapeno and Havarti dill and prosciutto, but the sky is literally the limit in terms of what you can stick inside this type of loaf. Savory or sweet, everything would work – I fully support you trying out any crazy combination of flavors that comes to mind. If I were going to do one right now I’d go with a sweet and spicy combination, perhaps some kind of jam and jalapeno or habanero?
The original recipe (thanks Seasons and Suppers!) called for the bread to be made in loaf pans, which I did, but I thought the loaves were so pretty right after I braided them that I wish I’d baked them as they were on a cookie sheet. Up to you, in the end, no way is wrong in the privacy of your own kitchen! Despite how complicated these look, they were really easy to make – I found the original instructions hard to conceptualize at first, so I included a few pictures to help make it easier to replicate. You’ve got this!
Yield: 24 servings Total Time: 3 hours 10 minutes (50 minutes active)
- 6 1/2 cups unbleached bread flour (can use all purpose, if that’s all you have)
- 2 tsp fine salt or 1 tbsp coarse kosher salt
- 3 tbsp white sugar
- 1 cup lukewarm water about 95F
- 1 cup plus 2 tbsp lukewarm buttermilk or milk
- 1 1/2 tbsp instant yeast
- 1/4 cup melted unsalted butter or vegetable oil
Cheddar Jalapeno Bread
- 1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- Sliced jalapenos (to taste – I used jarred sliced jalapenos, but you can use fresh if you prefer)
Dill Havarti and Prosciutto Bread
- 1 1/2 cups shredded dill Havarti
- 1 package of Prosciutto
In a mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the flour, salt, and sugar together.
In a large measuring cup or bowl, combine the water and milk and whisk in the yeast until dissolved. Add this mixture, along with the melted butter, to the dry ingredients. Mix by hand or with a dough hook, until the mixture is combined, about 2 minutes. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes.
Continue mixing the dough, adding more flour or water as needed, until the dough becomes soft, smooth, and tacky, but not sticky.
Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead for a couple of minutes, then form dough into a ball. Place it in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to sit at room temperature until doubled in size (about 60-90 minutes).
Divide the dough into 2 equal pieces. Dust each with a bit of flour and then, using a rolling pin, roll into a rectangle approximately 10 inches wide and 16 inches long. Or, if you’re lazy like me, roll it out a little and then use your hands to spread it (like pizza dough) into about the right dimensions – no need for perfection!
For the Cheddar Jalapeno Bread: spread the shredded cheddar and sliced jalapenos evenly over the surface of the dough. Starting with the shortest side, roll the dough up jelly-roll style (it should be a long cigar-shaped cylinder), and pinch the seam together.
For the Havarti Dill and Prosciutto Bread: spread the shredded Havarti over the surface of the dough. Evenly spread the prosciutto over the cheese.
Starting with the shortest side, roll the dough up jelly-roll style, and pinch the seam together.
Grease a large cookie sheet or two 8-inch by 4-inch loaf pans and set aside.
Shaping: Using a sharp knife, cut the roll of dough down the center, lengthwise. Rotate each piece so that the cut sides are facing upward and place them side-by-side. Pinch together the top end. Keeping the cuts sides facing upwards as much as possible, place the right-side piece over the left-side piece. Straighten it and then repeat, pinching together the end closest to you. If any cheese escapes, just place it back on top.
Using your hands and/or a spatula, carefully lift the dough onto the prepared baking sheet or into the greased loaf pan. Repeat with the other dough log, then cover both with a greased piece of plastic wrap and allow to sit for 10 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350° F. Bake for 45-50 minutes total, but after 25 minutes of baking, rotate pans front-to-back in the oven. When the bread is done it will reach about 185° internal temperature in the center.
Remove the bread from the oven and allow it to cool on the baking sheet/in the pans for a couple of minutes.
Carefully lift the loaves off the cookie sheet, or if you made them in the loaf pans run a sharp knife around the edge of the bread and carefully remove the loaves, and move them to a cooling rack. Allow to cool for 30 minutes to 1 hour before slicing. Enjoy!
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