Thursday, October 21, 2010

Cheddar Serrano Bread <-----makes killer garlic toast!

When I first ran across a recipe for cheddar serrano bread, I pictured a warm, crusty loaf that I could rip hunks from whilst contemplating the meaning of life.  If I'd have paid closer attention, I would have realized that this was not a crusty bread recipe, but rather an enriched bread.  It was soft, spongy and worthy of a good pop in the toaster.  It makes a great sandwich loaf (which I think I may have preferred to the free-form loaves that I made).  The thing is...it wasn't all that spicy, even with the extra chile I added.  It wasn't all that cheesy, either.  Hmmm.  Go figure.  Don't get me wrong.  It was good!  But it wasn't fabulous.  UNTIL I toasted it, that is.  Toasting brought out all of the fabulous hidden flavors.  Funny what a little heat can do, isn't it?  I sliced it and stuck it on the grill...then rubbed it with some cut garlic and butter for a killer piece of garlic toast.  It was the perfect compliment to a plate loaded with a grilled ribeye, a baked/grilled potato, and a nice salad.  With a cold beer to wash it all down.  I think it would be wonderful with a bit of corn flour subbed for some of the regular flour, so I'm gonna try that next time...plus I'm going to roast the serranos first...and add even more cheese!!  That said, it's still plenty enjoyable as is...
Cheddar Serrano Bread
adapted from this Rick Bayless recipe
yield: 2 loaves

2½ tsp. yeast
1 c. lukewarm water
 ½ tsp. sugar
2 eggs
2 Tbs. olive oil
2½ c. bread flour
1¼ c. ap flour (or finely ground corn flour for something a little different) + extra for bench
big pinch of sea salt
4 serrano chiles, stemmed, seeded & finely diced
6 oz. shredded EXTRA sharp cheddar cheese

Dissolve yeast in large bowl with water and sugar.  Stir and let sit 10 minutes, or until bloomed & creamy.

Mix in eggs and oil.  Toss cheese and serranos with flours and salt.  Mix all into wet ingredients with wooden spoon.  Turn out onto lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, ~10-15 minutes.  Place in an oiled bowl and cover w/ plastic or a slightly damp towel.  Let rise until doubled in size, ~2 hours.  Punch down.
Turn dough out and divide in half.  Form into two loaves on a pizza peel dusted with cornmeal.  Alternately, grease two loaf pans and place the dough in them.  Drape with a clean kitchen towel and let rise until doubled in size, ~90 mins.  Preheat oven to 425° F during last 30 minutes of rise time, with a stone placed on center rack if using free-form loaves.

Slash the tops if you'd like and dust with a bit of extra flour or corn flour, then transfer to oven and bake for ~30 minutes or until golden and cooked through.
*I'm sending this over to Rebecka from At Home with Rebecka because she was the host of this month's Culinary Smackdown Battle: Chile!   This bread has been Yeastspotted!  Also another BYOB entry!