A few months ago, several of us wild and crazy gals got together to have the Great Cinnabon Knock-Off Challenge. We had so much fun chatting and gossiping...ehrm, I mean baking together that we decided when the right recipe came along we would want to do it all over again.
Well, the right recipe has come along in the form of Hot Cheese Bread from the folks at Bakers' Banter, the blog from the test kitchen of my favorite flour, King Arthur's Flour. With a few new additions to the gang, last Saturday we mounted up on our Skype steeds and rode out of town towards cheesy bliss.
This recipe is pretty simple and straight forward. It is a two day process with a starter developed the night before
and then the dough and the cheese bread the next day. The total time spent, excluding the starter development and if you aren't chatting and giggling like fiends on Skype, is about 6 hours with only about 45 minutes of actual working time. Meaning, you can start the dough mid-morning, go out and run a bunch of errands and still have ooey-gooey cheese love for dinner.
Once you have your starter ready, you combine the starter and the rest of ingredients in a large bowl and combine them together. I used Isabelle to do most of the heavy work
and the resulting dough was super soft and sticky (Helen and I decided this was one of the loveliest and most sensual feeling soft doughs we had ever worked with). After a few minutes of hand kneading to get the feel for the gluten development and the structure of the dough, I gathered it into a ball
and set aside to rise until double.
This only took my dough about an hour (I have a super proofing environment between all the yeast roaming about and my oven after setting it to the lowest temp for 5 minutes and turning it off) but some folks had slower risers and it took almost 2 hours. Some of this difference in rising time was due to the climates we were all working in, S. Carolina to California; the temperature differences, low 50's to middle 80's; and some of it was our proofing environments, covered bowls on counters to containers in ovens set to proofing. (Kelly, I love you but I covet your oven!)
Next, after punching down the dough, we pressed it into a large rectangle and sprinkled thickly the grated cheese of our choice.
The recipe calls for Gruyere but I used a combination of Gruyere and little left-over chunks of various white cheese I had been saving exactly this recipe (Asiago to Monterey Jack). Then, starting on the long side, you roll it up into a long log and let the log rise.
At this stage of the recipe our conversation on Skype started to get well...let's say this is a family rated blog and leave it at that shall we!
After the um..log rises, we divided the log into either four or two pieces and flipped the cut pieces onto prepared baking sheets cheese side up and opened up the rolled mini log to expose the cheese to the heat of the oven (more unprintable adult talk ensued on Skype, including Helen coming up with an unmentionable name for the bread that had Kelly's mom blushing)
a spritz of water and into a hot 425 degree oven our cheese love loaves went. About 25 minutes later, out popped this!
Now if that doesn't look like a 6" x 4" piece of heaven I don't know what does!!!
Even better was when you pulled the warm bread apart to expose melty cheesy goodness inside.
I think the consensus on Skype was this was as sinful tasting as it was looking during the last rise and pre-baking. And, adult comments aside, I know this bread is going into my rotation of loaves to pull out when I want to impress and surprise my friends during dinner.
Now, after wiping the drool off your computer you should go check out how the rest of my Cheese Breadheads did. We are posting today and tomorrow so get ready because Lisa, Helen, Sara, Ivonne, Kelly, Stephanie, and Laura Rebecca's blogs all promise to put a certain smile on your face and you may even want an after stare cigarette!
If you want to put a little cheesy love on your table, you can find the recipe here on the King Arthur website.
Now, I wonder when our little gang of yeast outlaws will strike next and with what...