Oh my, oh my… Once again it’s been far too long since I’ve posted. I think part of the problem is that I sit in front of a computer all day and type type type! Soo… the last thing I want to do when I come home is stare at a computer and type some more. :-/
I’ve also been pushing myself to work on my photography more, so that’s been occupying a lot of my free time. I have all this gear and have been severely under-utilizing it for far too long. I’ve gotten out to meet fellow photogs, I’ve learned more each day about various settings on my camera and also some post-processing tricks, and I’m proud to see my pics getting progressively better. Now I just need to work on selling my prints to justify my increasingly expensive hobby! ;)
Speaking of… if you want to follow my personal account where I post a lot of my non-food pics, follow me on Instagram!
Ok… now for some yummy food! Some of you that already follow me on Instagram might recall seeing my post for Sriracha Cheddar Bread that I posted the night of the Super Bowl. I know, I know… that was 1 month ago. Sheesh… where does time go?!
It tasted soo amazing with homemade chili! I noshed down on leftovers for a week, though. I ate a slice room temp, I made a sandwich, and I even made a grilled cheese. Eeek – double gluttony! This bread combines the best aspects of food all in one – a crispy crust, a soft middle and a yummy swirl of spicy cheese! YUM!
I know some of you might be scared about the idea of making bread. I promise you, though, this really isn’t a super complicated recipe. Yes, there are a few tricks to making bread, but this recipe is pretty forgiving!
The main thing to take note of when making bread is to ensure that your yeast is fresh and that the warm liquid isn’t too hot. If the water is too hot it’ll kill the yeast and we definitely don’t want that to happen. I typically turn on the faucet and hold my hand underneath the water. As soon as it starts to feel warm to the touch, it’s ready. There’s zero need to boil the water because that will overheat it and then you’ll just be waiting for it to cool down enough. If you’re super worried, use a candy thermometer.
The next thing to take note of is the amount of flour. I would suggest starting with 4 cups, but you could put in as much as 5 cups based on the humidity in the air. I know it doesn’t seem like the weather would impact it that much, but trust me – it does! Start with 4 cups and then add in 1/4 cup increments until the dough comes together. If making this in a mixer, you’ll want to add enough flour until it just starts to pull away from the bowl. It takes a good 30-60 seconds to mix in, so add 1/4 cup, wait 30-60 seconds, add the next 1/4 cup, etc.
I like super spicy food, so I used half sharp cheddar and half pepper jack cheese. If you aren’t into spicy, you can leave out the pepper jack. I actually made a loaf for my mom (who isn’t crazy about super spicy food), and I did a 50/50 blend of cheddar and pepper jack and simply omitted the Sriracha. I know, blasphemy… but she can’t handle the severe heat. ;)
This dough does need to rise twice, so allow for plenty of time to mix, rise, rise again and bake. All in all, it’ll take about 3 1/2 hours from start to finish.
Sriracha Cheese Bread
Yield: 1 9-inch loaf
1/2 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
1 pkg (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup margarine
1/2 teaspoon salt
4-5 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sriracha
3/4 cup sharp cheddar, shredded
3/4 cup pepper jack, shredded
1. Pour the warm water in a small bowl and sprinkle the yeast on top. Wait about 10 minutes, or until the mixture begins to foam.
2. While the yeast is rising, combine the milk, eggs, sugar and margarine in a large bowl. Whisk to break up the eggs and combine the mixture.
3. Once the yeast is ready, add to the large bowl and then add the 4 cups of flour and salt. Mix until a dough forms. Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead for about 5 minutes. Add flour, 1/4 cup at a time, as needed.
4. Grease the large bowl, add dough and cover with a kitchen cloth. Allow to rest in a warm place for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
5. Punch the dough down and place on a floured work surface. Press the dough with your fingertips to form it into a 9-inch rectangle. Spread the sriracha on the dough, leaving a 1-inch border on all sides. Sprinkle the dough with the shredded cheese.
6. Starting on the side closest to you, tightly roll the dough jelly roll-style. Place the loaf, seam side down, into a greased 9-inch loaf pan. Cover with the kitchen cloth and allow to rest in a warm place for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
7. Bake the loaf in a preheated 350 degrees F (176 degrees C) oven for approximately 45 minutes, or until a deep golden brown. The bread should sound hollow when removed from the pan and tapped on the bottom. Please be sure to use dry towels and use caution since the bread is very hot!
8. Allow the bread to rest in the pan for 10 minutes. Brush the top with some melted butter as this gives it a beautiful shine! Remove from the pan and cool on a wire rack until completely cool.
I like to give my breads an “oven pop.” Simply preheat your oven to 25 degrees higher than the recipe calls for, so in this instance you would heat your oven to 375. After placing the loaf in the oven, set a timer for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, lower the heat to the correct temperature (in this instance 350) and then bake until done. This helps to give the yeast (or baking powder, for quick breads) a little boost which helps it to rise.