I’d like to file this one in the better late than never category, with apologies to Laura, Barb, and Jamie, of the Twelve Loaves baking challenge. The ladies of the Twelve Loaves post a new theme every month, and the challenge is to bake a bread, any kind of bread, that fits the theme. September’s challenge was bread with cheese, and I swear, I did make this in September, honest.
Back before my children were born I made bread regularly, all kinds of bread: Sourdough, rye, brioche, baguette, pizza dough, fancy European peasant loaves that required three-day ferments. I even made my own tortillas.
Then, when they were infants and toddlers, came a period of store-bought bread. It was a sad, dark time. It was a 2 1/2 hour drive to get a decent loaf. Most of the time we made due with cheap supermarket bread. I did not eat much bread.
A few years ago I hauled out the yeast and made a couple of loaves of white sandwich bread. My children went wild, especially the youngest, who declared that he never wanted to eat store-bought bread again. With this goal in mind I began baking bread more regularly again, mostly sandwich bread, alternating between white and whole wheat.
The day I baked my September loaves I was making white bread. I used my standard go to recipe, Craig Kominiak’s from Baking with Julia, which is the best I have ever found. After the first rise, I rolled the dough out into two rectangles, sprinkled it liberally with 1/2 inch cubes of apples from my back yard and aged cheddar cheese, rolled it up into loaves, and set it in the prepared pans for the second rise. All in all I used about 4 cups of diced apples and a pound of cheese.
I’m not sure I ever actually made any sandwiches with this bread. I think we wound up eating all of it straight up, slice by slice.
Here’s the recipe.
Apple Cheddar Sandwich Bread (adapted from Baking with Julia)
- 2 1/2 cups warm water
- 1 T. instant yeast
- 1 T. sugar
- 7 cups white bread flour
- 1 T. salt
- 2 oz. butter, room temperature
- 1 lb sharp cheddar cheese, 1/2 inch dice
- 4 cups peeled and cored apples, 1/2 inch dice
- Add the first four ingredients to the bowl of a stand mixer. Attach the dough hook and mix, on low speed, until the ingredients are combined.
- Add the salt, increase the speed to medium, and continue kneading in the mixer for about 10 minutes. The dough should be soft, but not sticky. Add flour or water as necessary.
- With the mixer still running, toss in the butter, a tablespoon at a time, and continue kneading until it is incorporated. The dough may look like it is falling apart at first. Keep going. It will come back together.
- Roll the dough into a ball. Place it back in the bowl, cover it, and set it in a warm place to rise for 45 minutes to an hour, until it doubles in bulk.
- Divide the dough in two and roll it out into rectangles, about 1/2 inch thick.
- Scatter the cheese and apples over the two rectangles. It will seem like far too much to ever fit. Don’t worry, it will.
- Roll each rectangle up and place it in a buttered, 8-inch bread pan.
- Let the loaves rise for 45 minutes, until they double in size again and have grown over the tops of the pans.
- About 30 minutes into the rise, preheat the oven to 375.
- Bake the loaves for 45 minutes, or until they are a dark honey brown on top.
- Remove the pans from the oven, remove the bread from the pans, and let the loaves cool before slicing.