My dear friend Elizabeth of Bella’s Breadbox has done it again. Remember her story about how she became the amazing baker that she is, and her oh-so-yummy Bittersweet Chocolate Coconut Bread? Of course you do!
We are so fortunate that she is sharing her Aisago Cheese Bread with Cooking On The Weekends today! It’s beautiful and incredibly tasty. Talk about comfort foods, OMG!
So here’s the plan. . . If you haven’t already done so, decide if you’ll make the Winter Persimmon Salad with Honey Glazed Pistachios and Blue cheese, or the Chicken-Grape Salad with Sweet Spiced Pecans. Next, make your salad dressing and pecans (if you go with the chicken-grape choice). And of course, hide the nuts so nobody eats them before the weekend! Then start this recipe for Elizabeth’s bread! Oh, and please call your friends and/or family and invite them to partake in all of this deliciousness! (Maybe one of your guests will bring the wine and dessert?)
A big XO to Elizabeth and Bella for sharing this wonderful recipe!
P.S. Friday Flowers will be back next Friday!
Total Prep and Baking Time: about 20 hours (don’t worry, read on!)
Active Work Time: 15 minutes
(Adapted from Jim Lahey’s, My Bread)
3 cups bread flour
2 cups Asiago cheese, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 teaspoon table salt (not kosher salt)
3/4 teaspoon instant or other active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 -1/3 cups cool water
Additional flour, wheat bran or cornmeal for dusting
In a medium -sized bowl, stir together the flour, cheese, salt, yeast and pepper. Add the
water and use a wooden spoon, or your hand, to mix until you have a wet and sticky dough, about 30 seconds. Cover the bowl and let sit at room temperature until the surface is dotted with bubbles, and the dough is more than doubled in size,12 to 18 hours. (I always go the full 18 hours for a more intense flavor.)
When the first rise is complete, generously dust a work surface with flour. Use a bowl
scraper or rubber spatula to scrape the dough out of the bowl in one piece. Use lightly
floured hands to lift the edges of the dough in towards the center. Nudge and tuck in the
edges of the dough to make it round.
Place a tea towel on your work surface and generously dust it with cornmeal, flour.
or wheat bran. Gently place the dough on the towel, seam side down. If the dough is
tacky, dust the top lightly. Fold the ends of the tea towel over the dough to cover it. Place in a warm, draft-free spot to rise for1 to 2 hours. The dough is ready when it’s almost doubled in size. (If you gently poke it with your finger, if should hold the impression. If it springs back, let it rise for another 15 minutes.)
Half an hour before the end of the second rise, preheat the oven to 475 degrees F with a
rack in the middle. Place a covered 4 to 5 quart heavy pot on the rack to preheat. (I use a 5-quart dutch oven.)
Use pot holders to carefully remove the preheated pot from the oven and uncover it.
Unfold the tea towel and quickly but gently invert the dough into the pot, seam side up.
Use caution — the pot will be very hot! Cover the pot and bake for 30 minutes.
Remove the lid and continue baking until the bread is a deep chestnut color, about 15 to 30 minutes. Use a heatproof spatula or pot holders to gently lift the bread out of the pot and place it on a rack to cool thoroughly, about 1 hour.
I like moist bread, plus my oven runs hot, so my initial bake is for 24 minutes, with the lid on, and then another 10 minutes with the lid off.
Oh and of course sweet Bella of Bella’s Breadbox sends her love. (We better get her some bread. And fast! )