- EITHER Shelly gave GREAT easy to follow directions for this beautiful finished product
- OR no matter how spectacular the finished product looks, it is a very easy recipe to replicate.
- OR I am a cooking gOD
Here's what I did...
Assemble the ingredients first. It does sound silly that I always start with this step, but more than once before I started doing this, I had to stop in the middle of preparations for a masterpiece and either run to the store or substitute something inferior... But I digress, here is a copy of Shelly's ingredient list...
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 cup finely chopped onions
- 1 1/2 cups chopped peppers (this can be one color or a combination of colors)
- 1 package dry yeast
- 1 1/4 cups lukewarm (110°F) water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 4 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
- 2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
- coarse sea salt (optional)
And then I... - (Anything in BOLD ITALICS print, I admit to stealing word for word from Shelly)
1. Cook oil, onions and peppers slowly in a large skillet over medium-low heat until the onions are transparent. When you cook onions and peppers slowly, the natural sugars caramelize, and they become quite sweet. Set aside to cool to lukewarm.
Still stealing her words, I...
2. In a large bowl, stir yeast into warm water to soften. Add salt, sugar, 2 cups flour, 1 cup cheese, and the cooled peppers. Beat vigorously for 2 minutes.
Recipe thief that I am, I next...
3. Gradually add flour, a little at a time, until you have a dough stiff enough to knead. Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Knead, adding flour as necessary, until you have a smooth, elastic dough. Put the dough into an oiled bowl. Turn once to coat the entire ball of dough with oil. Cover with towel and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.
I was (and always will be) Lazy. I let the Kitchenaid mixer do all the kneading. Am I posting too many pictures when I show photos of an oiled bowl waiting to receive the dough?
Here it is in the bowl...
And here it is covered...
And here it is doubled in size. I peed my pants a little when i uncovered it.
But wait, I was so optimistic, I doubled the recipe... What's the worst that can happen... Trust me, there is a second ball of dough under that second towel.
Next, I checked Shelly's recipe and I ...
4. Turn the dough out onto work surface. Knead in the remaining 1 cup cheese, leaving large streaks of the cheese visible. The streaks will toast and add an attractive look to the bread, not to mention a marvelous flavor.
Look Ma, I'm kneading!!!
And look at the streaks of golden cheese!!! And here's what Shelly told me to do next...
5. Shape the dough into a ball. Flatten the top slightly, and place on a well-greased baking sheet. Cover with a towel and let rise for 45 minutes.
I feel like such a terrible blogger, I failed to take a picture of the bread covered with the towel. Can you forgive me, can you possibly picture it in your mind's eye this ball of dough covered with a towel? Trust me I did it (although among BBQ bloggers, if you didn't photograph it, it didn't happen.
But I was busy, as Shelly said to do these steps...
6. Just before baking, brush the tops of the loaves with cold water and sprinkle with coarse sea salt, if desired. Slit the loaf in three places, about 1/2-inch deep, across the top.
And look closely, those are ice cubes in the bottom of the oven. Yeap, ice cubes, that is a trick only master bakers know... or, if you read master baker's instructions, master baker wanna Be's...
7. For added crispness, steam should be added to the oven for the first 10 minutes of baking. I put 2 cups of ice cubes directly on the floor of my oven. By the time they have melted and evaporated the 10 minutes is usually up. Since some people have trouble working with this theory, you can also put a pan of boiling water on the bottom shelf of the oven and remove it after the first 10 minutes of baking. Just be sure to work quickly to prevent loss of oven heat.
8. Bake in a preheated 400°F oven for 30 minutes, or until done. Immediately remove bread from baking sheet and cool on a rack. Makes 1 large loaf.
And here's a tip I learned from my sainted mother... While the bread is still hot, take a little butter and gently rub into the crust of the bread. Makes it gleam, and prevents the crust from getting too hard... maybe, what do I know?
A HUGE HIT... just as good as it looks!
The second loaf looked just as good. I honestly was very surprised at how easy and satisfying this turned out. The sauteed onions and peppers made the bread sweet. The bread was very moist, solid (perfect for dipping in the chili). Best of all (to me), the presentation left everyone in awe. I could have presented smoked ribs, brisket and 12 pounds of pulled pork, and I do not think I would have received as much praise as when I showed off this loaf of bread. A real crowd pleaser...
******************************Dave again... Do me a favor and drop by Shelly's site (Adventures With the Woods) and thank her for being a guest blogger of sorts today, as I stole her recipe. It is always exciting to see one of your recipes made by a reader. I hope that she is honored by my efforts and pleased with how well her instructions worked! Shelly, thank you so much for this post!
Just a reminder, I am in the middle of the BIGGEST giveaway contest I have ever held... Coupons for 4, 15-oz bottles POM WONDERFUL (you pick the flavor). Check my post from Sunday (you can get there by clicking HERE) for the details on how to win, but one of the important ways to enter is to go to http://adventureswiththewoods.wordpress.com/ and leave a comment, letting Shelly know what I did with her bread then return here, and comment to me that you thanked Shelly for her guest inspitation blog. You will get one entree for each of my guest bloggers (or inspirees) you thank for giving me a blog vacation. On Sunday, I will select one commenter to win this terrific prize!