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The Best of Winter Breads: Braided Cheddar Cheese Bread

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There is something about cheese breads which send me over the top. One of the best breads I've ever eaten was from a bakery in San Francisco on West Portal Avenue and it was an asiago cheese bread with a perfect crust and not only topped with asiago shavings, but the dough was laced with the cheese as well. The bread was literally addicting!

This particular bread is much like that with the exception being the cheese is of the cheddar variety and if you look at the picture, you can see how the cheese melts within the fabric of the bread. Each and every bite is a wonderful taste experience.

As far as the actual preparation of this bread, it isn't really any different than other breads. The difference is in the forming. If you have ever braided hair, you'll be fine braiding bread. If not, then it might take a little practice. In a very real way, it's fun!

Ingredients needed to make Braided Cheddar Cheese Bread (makes 1 loaf):

  • 4 cups flour
  • 2 ½ tsp. yeast
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1/3 cup warm milk
  • 1 ½ cups grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 Tbs. cold water

Steps:

  1. In a large bowl whisk together 1 ½ cups flour, sugar, yeast, salt, water and milk. Set aside 5 minutes to proof (foam).
  2. Stir in the remaining flour to form a dough.
  3. Place the dough on a floured surface and knead 10 minutes. Set dough aside 10 minutes to rest.
  4. Flatten the dough out and place the grated cheese on top. Knead the cheese into the dough until it is well combined.
  5. Divide the dough into three equal pieces and form each piece into a 14-inch rope. Braid the three ropes together and pinch the ends to seal.
  6. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  7. Place the braided dough onto the prepared baking sheet, cover and let rise 90 minutes.
  8. Pre-heat oven to 375.
  9. In a small bowl whisk together the egg white and cold water. Brush the egg wash over the bread.
  10. Place in oven and bake 35 minutes.
  11. Remove from oven and let cool on a rack.

The internationally bestselling cookbook from Chef Larry Edwards, "Edwardian Cooking: 80 Recipes Inspired by Downton Abbey's Elegant Meals," is now in it's third printing and available worldwide in both hard cover and e-book versions. The paperback version will be released March 4, 2014.

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