This is the one, guys. If you want something special to complete a meal, this is it. If you want toast that will make you want to slap yo momma, just trust me–make THE Cheese bread. If you are like my husband and consider carbs and cheese your two main food groups, you’re gonna love me…
And don’t let bread-making from scratch intimidate you. It’s beyond worth it to have your whole house smell like fresh bread and to serve it up, warm and yummy, with dinner.
Like anything else, just try it a few times and you’ll get the hang of it. The key is starting with a good recipe.
Begin by dissolving 1 pkg. yeast (or 2 1/2 tsp.) in 1/4 c. warm water.
If you want to be specific and measure the temperature, it should be 110 degrees. After having made bread an awful lot, I use my wrist just like checking water for a baby bottle. I want it a little warmer than body temp. But not hot. Too hot will kill the yeast. Too cold will not allow activation. Your best bet is to use a kitchen thermometer to get used to the feel of it for next time.
So, stir the yeast into the warm water and let it sit for a few minutes until it has dissolved.
In a small saucepan, gently warm 3/4 milk and 1 cup of water. You’re just going for warm here. Just so it’s gentle on the yeast.
In a separate bowl–I use the bowl for my mixer–add 5 cups of flour (set aside an extra cup),
1 T. salt,
and 2 T. sugar. Mix well.
Add in the yeast mixture and the warm milk/water to the flour and knead together for about 8 minutes. I use my mixer to do the work and let it run on low for 4-5 minutes until the dough is smooth.
The extra cup of flour should be added a little at a time just until the dough pulls away cleanly from the mixing bowl. I only used 1/4 c. this time making my flour total 5 1/4 cups.
If you’re kneading by hand, add extra flour a little at a time until it feels like the dough doesn’t want to accept anymore, and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic.
Put your big ball o’ dough n a large greased bowl, and cover it with a clean cloth and set it in a warm place to let it rise until doubled in size–at least an hour and half or so.
You can also cover the dough with plastic wrap and put it in the fridge overnight, and continue with the bread the next day. Just give it extra time to warm to room temp and then rise.
Butter two loaf pans, and shred up some cheese. You’ll want 1 1/2 c. total, and our favorite combo is
3/4 c. sharp Cheddar with 3/4 c. Monterey Jack. Definitely make sure you use at least half sharp Cheddar to get the right tang to the bread.
You’ll also need 1/4 c. shredded fresh Parmesan.
Once your dough has double in size, punch it down (this means push all of the air out of it) and add in the cheeses. Smush all of the cheese into the dough the best that you can, and then separate the dough into two equal pieces. Shape them into loaves tucking the ends under and making the tops as smooth as you can and set them into the buttered loaf pans. Let them rise until doubled, or a couple inches above the loaf pan. They are not huge loaves so this is about the size you’re going for.
Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. It will look like this…
…and smell absolutely heavenly. And your family will come running, noses first, from all corners of the house asking what’s for dinner. And you will be a super hero once again.
Let them cool in the pans for about ten minutes, and then take them out of the pans and put them on a wire rack and let cool enough to cut. Bread that is too hot does not cut well, so try realllllly hard to resist cutting it straight from the oven.
And the toast the next day…I’m telling you, it’s the stuff legends are made of. You can thank me later. I won’t mind a bit.
Soft white bread studded with three goozing cheeses. This will make the most amazing bread you've ever eaten fresh, toasted, or used for sandwiches.
Alison: That Which Nourishes
Recipe type: Bread
Serves: 2 loaves
¼ c. water
1 pkg. or 2½ tsp. yeast
¾ whole milk
1 c. water
5-6 cups unbleached flour (I use about 5¼)
1 T. salt (I use kosher)
2 T. sugar
¾ each of sharp Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese (or all Cheddar)
¼ c. shredded fresh Parmesan
Dissolve yeast into warm water (110 to 115 degrees). Let it sit for a few minutes to dissolve and get foamy.
In a small saucepan, warm milk and 1 c. water just to warm. Don't let it get hot or it will kill the yeast.
In a separate bowl, add flour, salt, and sugar and mix well.
Pour the yeast mixture in and add the warm milk and water as well. Let the mixer (dough hook) knead for 4-5 minutes or knead by hand on a floured surface for 8 minutes or until the dough is smooth adding a bit more flour as needed to get a smooth, elastic dough.
Set the ball of dough into a buttered bowl and turn it to butter all sides. Set it in a warm place to let it rise until doubled in size, at last an hour and a half.
Butter two loaf pans and shred the cheeses to equal 1½ cups plus ¼ c. Parmesan.
Smush all the cheeses into the dough the best you can.
Punch the dough down and separate into two equal-sized pieces. Shape them into loaves, tucking the ends under and place them into the buttered loaf pans.
Let them rise again until doubled.
Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.
Let cool for ten minutes and then remove from pans to let them cool on a wire rack.
Once upon a time, there was a girl who just wanted creamy, cheesy mac and cheese. Not full of spices or fancy things, just plain ol’ gooey mac and cheese. As such, The Mac & Cheese was born. Alison's recipe has become our claim to fame—standing strong as the Most Pinned Mac & Cheese Recipe on Pinterest.