Cheese Bread Braid
Adapted from Better Homes & Gardens - Bread Recipes Cookbook
I have made this bread since I was a newly wed, and cool enough, my daughter Félicité, newly married makes it too! In fact, she has appropriated my book and sent me a picture of the recipe so I could make it.
Over the years, I have played with the recipe and I have discovered new flavours with peppers as opposed to just pimento and that really adds a whole new dimension to this bread.
4 to 4 ½ c. flour (unbleached is preferable)
1 package active dry yeast, or 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1 ½ c. milk
2 tbsp. sugar
1 ½ tsp salt
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (or any other hard cheese)
¼ c. roasted red peppers
¼ sweet mini peppers in brine (image below)
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
In large bowl or mixer bowl of your stand mixer, combine 2 cups of the flour and the yeast. Heat and stir milk, sugar and salt till warm, (105°F to 110°F). Add to flour mixture, add egg, cheese, peppers and red pepper flakes. Beat on low with hand mixer or using the stand mixer on low for ½ minute, scraping sides of bowl. Beat on medium for 3 minutes.
Change to dough hook in the stand mixer to incorporate the rest of the flour, or use a wooden spoon to stir in as much of the flour as you can. Beat on medium low with the dough hook for 4 minutes or so, or once the flour is combined with your wooden spoon, turn onto a floured surface and knead for a good 6 minutes.
Place in lightly oiled bowl, cover with a clean damp cloth or cellophane wrap and let it rise till double, about an hour.
Punch down and separate into 6 even portions to make 2 braids. Let it rest 10 minutes.
Note: Its important to let the dough rest because it loosens the gluten and makes it easier to handle and shape afterwards.
After 10 minutes, roll out into 14 inch lengths, place three lengths together and braid. Look at video for a visual.
Place on baking sheet and let it rise again till double, keeping the braids covered with a clean damp cloth.
Bake at 375°F for 18 minutes. Tap to make sure it’s ready. (It should sounds slightly hollow to the ear)
Feast your eyes, feast your mind and then just feast!