Well, when I made this bread I’d actually set out to try something completely different — but, as it turned out, my mozzarella had gone bad, and nobody wants that, so I changed course and improvised wildly with some cheddar.  :-)  The result was some surprisingly delicious cheese bread.  I’m looking forward to getting back to Texas (my sojourn in Seattle nears its end), and making all the things I’ve come up with while I was gone for my family — cheesy bread included.

The trick with this bread is to make absolutely sure it’s in a nice warm spot to rise.  It doesn’t have to rise that much, but if it doesn’t rise enough, the texture’s off, and it’s just not as tasty.  The second trick with this bread is to use the sharpest cheddar you can find — the sharper the cheese, the better the bread.  It would go well with most any pasta or soup dish.  (Now I just need to find more soups I like!)  :-)

Well, then, with no further ado:

Cheese Bread

Yield:  1 loaf

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1 T sugar, divided
  • 2 tsp yeast
  • 2 cups dough mix
  • 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1/4 tsp guar gum
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 T shortening
  • 3/4 cup grated sharp or extra sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 egg
  • a little oil for brushing

Directions:

1.  In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the warm water, yeast, and 2 tsp of the sugar.  Set aside and let proof till foamy.

2.  In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients — dough mix, xanthan gum, guar gum, salt, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, and the last 1 tsp sugar.  Then, using a pastry cutter or just a long-tined fork, cut in the shortening till crumbly; then use a fork to mix the grated cheese into the mixture.

3.  Once the yeast mixture is foamy, add both it and the egg to the dry mixture, and use a fork to combine them.  Most of the dough will come together pretty easily, but not quite all — once the dough stops combining (and looks about like the left-hand picture), turn it out onto a clean countertop.  Just wet your hands with water and knead the dough all the way together.  Once it’s together, shape into a flat loaf like so (or a little smaller, depending how wide you want the finished loaf to be) and put it on an ungreased cookie sheet.

4.  Brush the dough lightly with oil so it won’t dry out, then cover it lightly and set it somewhere warm to rise for about an hour or until double.  When it’s done rising, preheat the oven to 425 degrees Farenheit and bake for 25-30 minutes (closer to 30).

5.  Eat it while it’s warm!  It’s good dry, but even better with butter.  If you have any left over, you can toast and butter it the next day.  Enjoy!  :-)