Cheddar Cheese Bread with Serrano Chiles
Makes 2 loaves
When I was coming up with this month’s recipes and decided on the Roasted Tomato Soup, what popped into my mind was how well a grilled cheese sandwich goes with tomato soup. That led me to adapt a bread recipe from Carol Field’s "The Italian Baker" cookbook. I modified the recipe by substituting an aged sharp cheddar and adding serrano chiles. I suggest that you shred your own cheese, since the packaged shredded cheese has stablizers added, which prevents it from melting as well. This is a very easy bread recipe, plus it's delicious with the Roasted Tomato Soup.
1 package dry active yeast
1 cup warm water (between 105 to 115 degrees)
1/4 teaspoon sugar
2 large eggs plus 1 egg yolk for the egg wash
3 tablespoons olive oil (divided use)
3 3/4 cups all purpose flour plus extra bench flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cups (5 ounces) shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2 to 3 serrano chiles, stemmed and finely diced
Place the yeast in a small bowl, then add the warm water and sugar. Stir until all the yeast has dissolved. Let sit for 10 minutes until the yeast becomes creamy. Pour into the bowl of your mixer with the dough hook attached. Mix in the 2 eggs and 2 tablespoons olive oil. Stop the mixer and scoop in the flour, salt, shredded cheese and serranos. Start the mixer slowly to incorporate the flour, then raise the speed to medium low and knead the dough for 3 to 4 minutes or until all the ingredients are evenly mixed and the bread has pulled away from the sides of the bowl.
Sprinkle your work surface with flour. Scrape the dough onto the surface and finish kneading until it's smooth and elastic. Place the dough in a lightly oil bowl (the remaining 1 tablespoon), cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled, about 2 hours.
Turn the dough out onto the floured work surface. Cut the dough in half and shape each piece into a loaf. Fold the edges under the bottom to create a smooth top and sides. Place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper and repeat with the other half. Cover with a towel and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.
Preheat your oven about 30 minutes into the second rise to 425 degrees. Just before baking, beat the remaining egg yolk with 1 tablespoon of water and brush this egg wash over the tops and sides of each loaf. Slash each loaf on the top with 3 parallel cuts using either a very sharp knife, a razor or a bread lame. This allows the steam to escape.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely on a rack.