This week, I made Spicy Cheese Bread for Mary Beth Maier.
This is a soft, brioche-y bread with delicious veins of cheese running throughout. It really isn’t very spicy at all, just a little kick in there to complement the cheese. The dough is a little dry, but not too hard to work with, and you get to do some fun shaping. This bread is best served warm, so the cheese is melty and delicious. You could probably make a good sandwich out of it (or, yes, avocado toast. This is why I’ll never own a home), but also you can just eat it straight up because it’s delicious.
- 460g All Purpose Flour (“AP flour”)
- 50g granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon instant yeast
- 1.5 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1.25 teaspoon salt
- 118g warm water (100°F-110°F)
- 2 eggs
- 1 egg yolk
- 4 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
- 6oz Monterey Jack cheese (cut into .5″ cubes)
- 6oz Mozzarella cheese (cut into .5″ cubes)
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
Assemble the ingredients: As always, flour, water, salt, yeast. You’ll also need a whole bunch of eggs and butter, because this is a brioche-y bread. Notable here is the use of instant yeast instead of active dry yeast. There isn’t a ton of difference, really, but instant yeast works better in lower-hydration doughs like this one. Since there isn’t much water, a lot of the moisture comes from eggs and butter, and the instant yeast is more effective here. If you don’t have any, active dry should really work fine, you just might need to give it a little more rising time.
Start by mixing together your dry ingredients: flour, sugar, yeast, red pepper flakes, and salt. In another bowl, mix your wet ingredients: water, melted butter, eggs, extra egg yolk. Add the liquids to the dry, and then mix until a dough forms. This is a very dry dough, especially at first, so you may need to mix by (freshly-washed) hand.
Take it out of the mixing container and knead like your life depends on it. This dough is a little sticky, and can benefit from the occasional dusting of flour, but you shouldn’t need much since it’s so dry. Knead for 8ish minutes, or until the dough feels firm and smooth. I forgot to take a post-knead picture of this one, but you can see it in the rising picture.
Throw some PAM in a bowl, put the dough in there, turn it to coat, and then cover the whole jawn loosely with plastic wrap. Let it rise until doubled, 90-120 minutes, depending on temperature. If it’s hot, check it after 60 minutes just in case. Do the finger dent test to make sure it’s ready to go. While it rises, chop up your cheeses.
Remove the dough from the bowl and gently press it down to deflate. You’ll want to shape it into a roughly 18″x12″ rectangle on your unfloured surface, with the long side parallel to the edge of your counter. A rolling pin (or bottle of wine) will help tremendously here. Spread your cheese evenly across the whole surface, but leave a little border of about an inch all around so you have room to pinch. Press it down a little bit to stick it into the dough. I apologize for any feelings this picture may make you have.
Then, starting with the edge closest to you, roll the whole thing up into one long snake. Pinch the edges and seam to seal in the cheese. Working gently, start to roll the snake out until it’s about 30″ long. If it tears in any places, just pinch it back together. Grease a 9″ round cake pan. Start at one end, coil the dough loosely, and tuck the trailing end underneath. Drop the whole thing into the cake pan. Cover loosely with a clean towel and let it rise for another 60-90 minutes, or until doubled. Meanwhile, put the oven rack lower-middle, and preheat to 350°.
Brush the top of the loaf with the lightly beaten egg, and sprinkle some more red pepper flakes on there. Throw it in the oven for about 20-25 minutes, until it starts to look golden brown. Turn it 180, tent loosely with foil, and let it go for another 20-25, but keep a close eye on it so it doesn’t burn.
Take the whole pan out of the oven and place it on a wire rack. Brush the surface with the softened butter. Let it cool for about 10 minutes, then slide a knife gently around the outside (or, if you have a springform pan, just release it). Pop it out of the pan and let it cool for another 20-30 before slicing and devouring.
Thanks to Mary Beth for the request. See you all next week!
Short Steps List:
- Mix dry ingredients
- Mix wet ingredients
- Combine dry and wet, knead
- Rise until doubled, 90-120 minutes
- Flatten to a rectangle, spread cheese, roll, coil, place in cake pan
- Rise until doubled, 60-90 minutes
- Preheat to 350
- Egg wash
- Bake for 20-25, rotate, tent with foil, bake for another 20-25
- Rest 10 minutes, remove from pan
- Rest 20 more minutes, go to town.