Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Recipe of the Month: Chile Cheese Bread


3 cups unbleached bread flour
1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 tbsp. brown sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1 tbsp. oil
1/2 to 1 teaspoon red chile flakes, to taste
10 oz. flat beer
4 oz. grated sharp cheddar cheese
4 oz. grated Monterey Jack cheese


Warm beer over low heat to 110° to 115° F. Transfer to large mixing bowl, add sugar and yeast. Cover bowl and place bowl in oven over pilot light to keep warm.

Proof the yeast: Let stand approximately 10 minutes. Foam should appear on top of the mixture. If any yeast granules are still present, return to the oven for another 5 to 10 minutes.

Once yeast is proofed, add the oil to the mixture. Gradually stir in flour and salt, mixing until dough becomes firm enough to knead. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Start adding cheese and red chile flakes, working them evenly into the dough as you knead.

When the cheese and red chile flakes have been incorporated into the dough, knead another 10 minutes, until smooth and elastic. Add small amounts of flour to the surface of the dough if it begins to stick. Note: Depending on the humidity and your altitude, you may need to use a little more flour.

Form the dough into a ball and place in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with moist towel and set in a moderately cool place to rise slowly.

Note: Setting dough to rise in a warm place causes the dough to rise too quickly. This produces a bread with uneven, open texture and undeveloped flavor. I prefer to let dough rise in a cool place for several hours. This produces an evenly textured, deliciously flavored bread. The difference is remarkable!

Let rise for 2 hours or more, until the dough has doubled in size and does not spring back when pressed. Turn the dough out and knead briefly. Set aside to rise again. When dough has doubled in size again, turn it out, knead briefly and form into a round or oblong loaf. (You can also bake this bread in a cloche, which gives your bread the flavor and texture of having been baked in a brick oven.)

Place on a baking sheet or baking stone. Slash the top of the loaf. Bake at 350° for approximately 50 minutes until loaf is nicely browned and hollow sounding when tapped on the bottom. Remove loaf to cooling rack. Let cool almost completely before slicing, and completely before storing.


For Authentic New Mexico Chile visit the Taos Unlimited Food Section

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