Bake & Chat: Crunchy Cheese Bread

One of the things I’ve learned since starting this blog is that it’s possible to actually cook with someone who lives hundreds or thousands of miles from me.  I’m well acquainted with being able to get together with good friends and cook, but it’s always been either at their home or mine.  But on the other side of the country?  Who knew?

So when I was first invited to join in on an Internet cooking session, I did have to wonder how that worked, because I’d find out the participants had quite a bit of fun — sometimes on the phone, but most often in a chat session.  I immediately pictured my keyboard covered with dough and began to wonder if I could find one of those plastic things I see in fast food joints that cover their cash register keyboards.  I am quite the slob when I cook.

And then there’s the computer.  Although my Mac is more than portable, it is rather large, and since I keep it upstairs, to participate in one of these long distance cook sessions, I carry it down to the kitchen and park it on the counter right where I cook.  Thank goodness for wireless!  I plug it in, don’t have to mess with wires on my keyboard or mouse, sign in to Skype, and get ready for the games to begin.


And that’s exactly what happened not too long ago when Breadchick of The Sour Dough, Ivonne of Cream Puffs in Venice, Lis of La Mia Cucina, Sara of i like to cook, Helen of Tartelette, Stephanie of Dispensing Happiness, and Laura Rebecca of Laura Rebecca’s Kitchen all took Breadchick up on her offer of sampling cheesebread.  Yes, that would be bread that has cheese oozing out of it, steaming hot from the oven.  Cheesebread that you have to fend off others in the house over so it can actually cool, and sit in one place long enough to have a few photos taken of it.

The recipe can be found at the King Arthur Flour website which is a great resource.  Although the recipe did specify gruyere cheese, I chose extra sharp cheddar and Iberico, which is a white, nutty-flavored cheese.  Let’s call this selection being glad to clean out the cheese drawer, which always makes me happy.  And though I’d dreamed of adding jalapenos to this, I didn’t have any, so that just means I get to enjoy making this again.  Soon.

Cheese-Stuffed Crusty Loaves require a starter that I’d never used before, which makes this all the more fun.  It’s begun the night before and is quite thick, resembling pizza dough, and is somewhat dry.  But it does expand overnight, and is very active, with large bubbles over its surface.

I did use my Kitchen Aid, but the dough is very nice  Smooth, velvety, and extremely easy to work with.  None of that sticky business!  It would be easy to knead this dough by hand and not have your wrists aggravated like mine often are when I use them for this kind of work.

I also used my oven proofing setting.  The last time I made bread, I didn’t, and well…my bread took a couple of days to finish its series of rises.  My thinking is, I bought an oven that could do more than just bake, why not use it?  That doesn’t mean that when I’m the one in charge, I won’t forget to check in on it, and that’s sort of what happened for the second rise.  My dough was pretty spongy looking.  Just because I have a nice stove doesn’t always mean I use it properly.  It slaps me around regularly!
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So my cut pieces of dough (I chose to make four small loaves…)were less than perfect, but I didn’t hear any complaints about their appearance through mouths stuffed with fresh cheese bread.


I loved this bread because the crunch of the exterior combined with the cheese and the lovely crumb of the bread are so satisfying.  Really one of the most tasty breads I’ve tried.

And I’ve got a list of other things to try with it besides the jalapenos.  Grilled onions.  Roasted garlic.  Herbs.  Oh.  My.  Hips.


A huge thanks to Mary (aka Breadchick) for finding the recipe, delivering motivation (I think she had about five other types of bread at various stages in her kitchen that day OMG!) and sustaining the chat.  I’ve found another old movie buff.  No, Mary’s not old.  The movies are.  Thanks to Helen also, who’s always there with endless amounts of energy, suggestions and humor.  The rest of the crew was in and out that day, which is the nice part of doing this together.  You get to chat a bit, snark some, do errands, and then enjoy great bread.