Baking bread has always been one of my dreams. I had read bloggers mentioning as to how home made bread always tasted better. I would see the pictures, the description and then Sigh! I would wonder if it were all real, was bread baking so simple and easy? Will I also ever be able to bake such beautiful breads? I had bookmarked a lot of recipes from blogs to be tried, but never got around making it as I was too nervous. It all changed when Aparna blogged about this Herb and cheese pull apart bread. From the very first time I laid my eyes on the bread I was completely bowled over. I loved the flavors that she used in the bread. When she mentioned that she had good experience with the bread and that is was very easy to make got me hooked. In addition to that a lot other bloggers who participated in the bread baking group that she called " We knead to Bake" had only positive things to talk about. Everytime I saw a similar bread in one of the blogs It would work as a gentle reminder for me to get it started. I could not get my eyes off this bread and had made a mental note of making it sometime soon. Finally when Manasi mentioned about her event "I must make that" I knew this was my call to finally make this bread and I am really glad that I did it. From the time I started proofing the yeast and until the bread was done I was terribly nervous. But the final outcome was wonderful. This bread received a lot of positive feedback from my family and friends. I finally got over my yeast phobia. If I could bake this bread anyone can do! It is really easy and very very tasty. I made minor changes to the filling to suit my tastes. The end resulted tasted like lightly spiced garlic bread. This is Aparna's recipe with just a little modification of the filling. I am just copying it her for my reference. Please do visit her blog for her recipe and wonderful photographs that will motivate you to go ahead and bake this beauty! Thank you Aparna.
Here is what's needed:
For the Dough:
1/2 cup warm milk
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp active dry yeast
2 3/4 to 3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
25gm butter, soft at room temperature
3-4 garlic finely minced
3/4 cup milk
For the Filling:
15 to 20gm melted butter
2 tsp dried Italian herbs
1 tsp red chilli flakes to taste
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1) In a small bowl, dissolve the sugar and the yeast in the 1/2 cup of warm milk. Keep aside for about 5 minutes till the yeast mixture bubbles up.
2) Put 2 3/4 cup of flour, salt, softened butter, and minced garlic in a large bowl and mix. Then add the yeast mixture and the 3/4 cup of milk and knead till you have a soft, smooth and elastic/ pliable dough which is not sticky. Add a little extra flour if your dough is sticking, but only just as much as is necessary. I did not use any extra flour as it was shaped really well.
Shape the dough into a ball and place it in a well-oiled bowl, turning the dough to coat it completely with oil. Cover and let it rise for about 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until almost double in volume.
3) Dust your work surface lightly with flour. Deflate the dough, shape it into a square and roll the dough out into a larger square that is about 12’ by 12”. Brush the surface of the square with the melted butter. I was all nervous and in spite of having melted butter next to me I forgot to do this.Evenly sprinkle the herbs, chilli flakes and then the grated cheese. Use a rolling pin to very lightly press the topping into the dough to ensure the topping doesn’t fall off when you are stacking the strips.
4) Using a pizza cutter, slice the dough from top to bottom into 6 long and even strips – they do not have to be perfect. Lay each strip on top of the next, with the topping facing upwards, until you have a stack of the strips.
You can put the 2 strips cut from the sides in the middle of the stack so it looks neater. Using a pastry scraper or a sharp knife, cut straight down through the stack dividing it into 6 equal pieces (6 square stacks).
5) Grease and lightly flour a 9” by 4” (or 5”) loaf tin. Butter and lightly flour a 9 x 5 loaf pan. Layer the square slices, cut sides down into the loaf tin
Cover the loaf tin dough with a towel and allow the dough to rise for an hour. Lightly brush some milk over the top of the loaf. I brushed the top with meted butter.
6) Bake the dough at 180C (350F) for about 30 to 40 minutes until it is done and the top is golden brown.
Here is another look at the cheesy bread
I will be making this bread again and beware it is addictive. This is my entry to Manasi's event "I Must Make That". Please check her blog for the details of the event. Thanks Manasi for considering my late entry!