Friday, December 23, 2011

Pop's Holiday Bread

One of the foods I love most at Christmas is my dad's cheese bread. In fact, I love it so much that a year or two ago I asked him for my own personal loaf for Christmas. He did me one better by giving me his recipe.

Since I'm not going to see my parents on Christmas Day this year, and it just wouldn't be Christmas without cheese bread, I had to take matters into my own hands. The kneading and waiting for yeast risen bread to rise always seemed a bit forbidding. But as it turns out, it wasn't so bad to tackle on Monday when I had lots of other things going on in the kitchen anyway. Also, kneading the dough in my stand mixer with a dough hook made it an incredibly simple recipe. Here's the run down.

Cheese Bread from Pop's Kitchen
1/2 lb (8 oz) shredded cheddar cheese
1c milk
1/4c sugar plus 1/2tsp
1tsp salt
1/2c warm water (90-110 degrees)
2pkgs dry yeast (about 4 1/2 tsp)
1/4tsp dry mustard
1/8tsp cayenne
4 1/2 to 5c flour (all purpose or bread flour)

Scald the milk and add 1/4 c sugar plus salt. Let cool to 90-110 degrees. In pre-warmed bowl of your stand mixer, stir water, 1/2 tsp sugar and yeast together (with a spoon). Let proof for 5 min. Stir in milk, cheese mustard and cayenne. Mix in 2 cups flour. Now, add in 2 1/2 c of flour and get your dough hook going. The dough should not be too sticky (add the extra flour if needed). Knead in the mixer for 10 minutes.

Post-kneading in my mixer

Form into a ball and let rise in a lightly greased bowl covered with a tea towel or dish cloth for 90 minutes, until it has doubled. Punch it down to release air bubbles and let rest for 10 minutes. Shape into a loaf and place in a greased loaf pan (I use the largest one I have). Let rise again, covered, for one hour.

Brushed with Butter and ready for the oven
Brush the top with melted butter or egg wash if you want it shiny and browned.  Bake in a preheated oven at 375 for 30-40 minutes - until it makes a hollow sound when tapped on top.  Remove from pan and let cool.

Straight from the oven

Now, you know that I can't ever resist tinkering with a recipe. Pop's recipe calls for regular all purpose flour, but I used bread flour, which Phin had on hand for pizza dough making. I thought it might make a softer crumb, and it did. (Score one for my tinkering!) Second, I may have been little lax with measuring my cheese. The block of cheese I had was 10oz and I threw it all in. Again, this worked out just fine. So, honestly, if you are a little off with the cheese measuring, you're probably fine.

Tempting me with it's scent
A few other variations are that you could always sprinkle some poppy or sesame seeds on top before baking. Or a bit more shredded cheese (maybe that's what I should have done with those extra 2 oz?). At any rate, I will be eating a generous slice on Christmas morning, toasted and buttered, which is my favorite way.

Do you have holiday traditions or recipes like this? Some family recipe that gets made just once or twice a year for the holidays?  The kind of thing that speaks of Christmas (or whateve holiday you happen to celebrate?)

Merry Christmas and happy holidays to you all! 

1 comment:

Karin said...

Yum! Cheese bread is delicious. Have a Merry Christmas!