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Asiago Cheese Bread

Posted Jun 17 2011 3:57am

I'm so happy that bread exists. Cupcakes. I'm also glad you exist. And chocolate. What would my life be without chocolate.

Let me tell you a little story about bread and yeast. It's a good one. Promise.

Two months ago I tried to grow (colonize?) some yeast, and had pretty good success. I really wanted to be hardcore and make my own sourdough bread.

Basically, yeast naturally occurs in whole wheat flour and in the air. If you combine warm water + whole wheat flour, and cover, hopefully you will catch some yeast. The yeast will then eat the flour and produce gas and bi-products. There are also bacteria. Good bacteria. The bacteria will eat the yeast's bi-products and produce acid.

The yeast makes the bread rise and the bacteria makes the bread sour. Together the yeast and the bacteria live together harmoniously.

So you leave the bread and water in a bowl on the counter and let it work its magic. This can take days. I know what you're thinking - ew, gross! What about mold, and fungus, and stomach cramps? Well, it's super hard for the 'unruly' bacteria to grow in this environment, because it's just so darn acidic.

Phew, that was a lot. Are you still with me?



So, two months ago I grew a sourdough starter. It was awesome. I was proud. The kind of proud a mother has when she shows you her new born baby. And then I say that her baby is cute, and I don't really mean it. Come one, not all babies are cute. Don't judge.

I took my starter and I made some sourdough bread. Go here to see my bread. If you want. No pressure.

It was a success. It was tasty. I was happy.

I put my starter in the fridge and now it's dead. Blunt and tragic.

Don't worry, there's a happy ending. It has cheese and cheese makes everything better. And chocolate. And cupcakes. And Gin.

Yesterday I tried to make a loaf using my dead yeast. It failed. I know, I know, move on.

I decided to add some commercial yeast to my starter. It was like a super yeast explosion party. My starter doubled in 5 hours. Magic.

I decided to persevere with the store bought bakers yeast concoction, and I added more flour, and water, and salt, and cheese. I let the whole thing party on its own, and I ended up with a savory, cheesy, delicious sweet loaf of bread.

It was awesome. The stars aligned, and pow! Cheese bread.


Asiago Cheese Bread Recipe (makes 1 loaf)

Ingredients

3 cups of all purpose flour
1/4 tsp of dry yeast
1 tbsp salt
1 3/4 cups of water
1 cup of shredded asiago cheese

1. Combine 1/2 cup of all purpose flour, 1/4 cup of warm water, and 1/4 tsp of dry yeast in a small bowl or jar, cover with a damp towel and let rise for 8 hours (or until doubled in size). This should equal one cup.

[If your awesome and didn't kill your starter, you can substitute 1 cup of sourdough starter for step 1]

2. Once the mixture has doubled, mix with the rest of the flour (2 1/2 cups), water (1 1/2 cups), and salt. Let rise for 1 hour.

3. Add the shredded cheese and knead the dough for 15 minutes on a floured surface. Place back into a lightly oiled bowl and let rise for 4 hours.

4. Remove the dough from the bowl and shape into an oval. Place on a baking sheet and let rise for 4 more hours.

5. Place a pizza stone in the oven (on the bottom shelf) and heat to 500 F. Once the oven has been at 500 F for 30 minutes, add a pan 1/3 full of warm water to on the top shelf. Turn the oven down to 425 F and let heat for 10 minutes.

6. Place the dough on the pizza stone. Spray the top of the dough with water and the wall of the oven. Every 30 seconds open the door a crack and spray the oven walls with water. Repeat this process 3 times.

7. Bake the bread for 40 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack.

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