Monday, September 24, 2012

Whole Wheat Cheese Bread


My head has finally made in into fall. Perhaps it's the turn of weather from beautiful, hot sunny days to absolutely freezing days (I don't exaggerate, this morning my thermometer said 2 degrees C). Regardless, one of the things I immediately think of when fall hits is warm homemade bread, and if that's combined with a hearty soup like corn chowder or chili, it's even better! The smell of freshly baked bread filling your house is amazing, and if it's cheese bread, you can smell it even more. This was one dish that I was so excited to cut into, and when I did, it definitely did not let down. It doesn't take a lot of work, just more time to let the dough rise, so it's perfect for a side to a dinner meal. The only tricky part is kneading all of those lovely chunks of cheese into the bread. Trust me, you'll want to use chunks and not grate the cheese, or else the cheese just kind of dissolves into the bread, and that's not what you want!!
Yield: 2 loaves
1 1/2 cups warm water
2 1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
1/3 cup oil (vegetable or canola)
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups old cheddar cheese, cut into small cubes
extra Parmesan and cheddar cheese grated, for topping

In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix the water, yeast, oil and salt with a rubber spatula. Beat in egg, followed by Parmesan cheese. Stir in white flour until just combined. Add in whole wheat flour, and using the dough hook attachment for the stand mixer, knead at low speed until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface. Knead just long enough to make the dough is soft and smooth, then shape into a ball.

Place the dough in a lightly greased glass bowl and cover with a tea towel. Heat oven to 350 degrees F for 2 minutes, then turn off, until oven is just warmed. At the same time, boil some water. Place boiled water in a small bowl, and then onto the lower rack in the oven. Place the dough bowl in the oven on the higher rack, directly above the bowl with steaming water (warmth and moisture produce the best environment for the dough to rise). Let the dough proof for 45-60 minutes, or until doubled in size.

Remove from oven and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead in the cubed cheddar cheese until well distributed (because the cheese is cubed, this step is a little challenging). Divide into 2 equal portions. At this time, it is possible to wrap the dough up and freeze for a later date.

Shape each portion into a loaf, and place seam side down in 2 well greased and floured 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 loaf pan. Again, warm the oven momentarily and have boiled water ready so that the dough may rise for another 45-60 minutes, or until dough has risen above the top of the pan in the centre and corners are filled. Sprinkle tops of loaves with Parmesan and cheddar cheese.

Bake at 375 degrees F on lower oven rack for 30-35 minutes, until light golden brown. Remove from pans immediately and cool on wire racks. And do me a favour, cut yourself a slice while it's still warm, and top it with a bit of butter. Heaven.

Source: adapted from Robin Hood Pin It

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