Country Cheese Bread
I found this recipe in my mom’s recipe box, written in her distinctive left-handed, Palmer method-instructed, elegant handwriting. My mom loved to make bread, and always did so by hand. I also enjoy making bread, but mostly for the end product, so I cheat with modern appliances. I have adapted this recipe for the modern (read: lazy) cook.
This was a favorite of my grandfather, Papa Tucker. It is very good toasted with butter and makes unbelievable grilled cheese sandwiches.
Country Cheese Bread
1 ½ Cups milk
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 Tablespoon Kosher salt
¼ Cup (1/2 stick) butter
1 Teaspoon ground black pepper
6-7 Cups flour (5 cups bread flour, 1 cup whole wheat + more for bench)
7 ounces grated sharp cheddar cheese*
2 packages yeast (or 4 teaspoons)
1 cup lukewarm water (not more than 110 degrees)
1 egg, beaten (for egg wash)
In a microwave safe bowl or large Pyrex measuring cup, heat milk, butter, sugar, salt and pepper about 2 minutes or until butter is melted.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, mix 2 cups of bread flour with milk mixture and cheese.
Dissolve yeast in water and add to milk and cheese mixture, mix until combined.
With mixer running, add remaining flour a little at a time to form soft dough.
Add olive oil to edge of bowl and turn dough to coat. Cover with a clean, damp tea towel or plastic wrap and let rise 1 hour.
Punch down dough and knead lightly. Divide dough into 2 parts, shape and put into greased 9 x 5 loaf pans, rise 1 hour. (I usually make 1 sandwich-style loaf and use the other half of the dough for calzones, rolls or to braid into a circle.)
Paint loaves with egg wash and bake in 400 degree oven 30-40 minutes. Don’t under bake - the crust should have a deep golden brown color - err on the side of baking too long rather than not enough. Cool loaf before slicing.
*I buy an 8 ounce block of sharp cheddar and cut off 1/8, then grate by hand or with a food processor.
While juggling my son's peanut allergy with my own lactose intolerance, I make fresh, delicious food with a local, organic focus.
My column, Food For Thought, appears in the Whitman-Hanson Express newspapers.
103 Tilden Road, Marshfield, MA 02050, USA