Thursday, February 01, 2007

Cheesy Herb Bread

The smell that fills the house as this bread bakes is alone worth the making of it. (Don't let that keep you from also eating it, though. It's good!)

I'm glad that after I slid these in the oven, I jotted down the spices I used, because although this bread is amenable to variations and additions, it was so good, I think I'll stick with the following amounts for a while in fear of ruining a good thing. Feel free to twiddle and tweedle it up yourself.

Without further ado, make this yummy bread!

1/2 cup warm water
2 tablespoons yeast
1/3 cup sugar
2 tsp. salt
1 cup sour cream, room temperature
3 tablespoons butter, melted
2 eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten
1/4 tsp. black pepper
@ 1/4 tsp. rosemary, crushed (just smush it with a pestle or with the superman strength of your fingers)
1 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. thyme
1/2 tsp. oregano
@ 3 tablespoons finely minced onion
@4-5 cloves garlic, finely minced or pressed
@ 3/4 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated

@ 5 cups all-purpose flour (with one or two tablespoons of wheat gluten added) or 5 cups bread flour. You can use all purpose without the gluten and the flavor will still be superb, but the texture won't be quite as nice.

Dissolve yeast, sugar, and salt in warm water. Let proof for about ten minutes (until foamy). Add sour cream, butter, eggs, and stir. Add the spices and about three cups of flour and mix. Add enough flour until dough is the right consistency for kneading. Work the grated cheese into the dough as you knead, and knead until dough is smooth and somewhat elastic (in spite of the lumpy bits of cheese). Place in greased bowl, cover top, and let rise in a warm place until doubled. Punch down and place in two greased, 8-inch bread pans (I used my quick bread pans, otherwise the loaves would be too flat). Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled. Bake at 375 degrees until golden brown and hollow-sounding when thumped on the bottom, about 25-30 minutes. Remove from pans and cool on wire racks.

*My oven runs hot, and these were done in 20 minutes.
*If you want to make rolls with the dough, bake for @ 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown.
*I can't wait until summertime to try this with fresh garden herbs. You should, too!
*Vary the kind of cheese and use alternate spices, if desired. I bet it will be yummy any way you slice it (get it?!).

Lame joke-- check.
Time to post this recipe, then.

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