Friday, April 18, 2014

italian easter cheese bread

It has been awhile, hasn't it?  How I've missed being on here rambling and sharing recipes.  I really have been cooking, and I really have been writing the best posts...

But just in my head (the writing, that is).

We leave today for Indiana, and I'm really excited that the weather is looking very promising. Ever since I can remember, I have adored Easter Sundays that are radiant and warm, reminding the world once again of the resurrected Christ.  I am so thankful.

I don't know that I'll ever get to the bottom of my "one-day-I-hope-to-try-this-bread-recipe" list, but as long as I'm breathing, I'll keep checking them off.  This one only recently made the catalog, though with the upcoming holiday it got bumped to the top.  

To say I was pleased with the outcome is an understatement.  The egg wash gives it a gorgeous crust and the crumb is extremely tender.  I used a blend of aged Parmesan and Romano cheeses, so the flavor was robust with the cheese definitely shining through.   

When you read the recipe, the length of time called for might scare you away.  But be of good cheer!  I actually took a chance and refrigerated it after the second rising until the next afternoon, and it still turned out beautifully.  So, if needed, give yourself a couple of days for this one and know it will still be a success.   

This is such a beautiful loaf, just slip it into a clear bread bag, tie it off with some raffia and pass it along to show your love this Easter Sunday.  Even better, tag it with an inscription, "I am the bread of life… ~ Jesus."  What a blessing you will be, putting a smile on someone's face, food in their tummy, and all in the name of a Savior.  

He has risen, my friends.  Pass it on.

one year ago - pork and rice stir-frywhole-wheat bread

Italian Easter Cheese Bread
makes one loaf
  • 2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp instant yeast
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 large egg yolk, white reserved
  • 1/4 cup lukewarm water
  • 1/4 cup softened butter
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground pepper
  • 1 1/4 cups freshly grated Parmesan, Romano, Asiago or combination
~ Place all ingredients in a bowl MINUS CHEESE and mix with stand mixer for 10 minutes 
    until dough is satiny and shiny.  Stop to scrape down sides and bottom of bowl a couple 
    of times.

~ Add cheese and beat until well combined.

~ Remove dough and place in lightly greased bowl.  Cover and let rest for one hour.  It 
    won't do much.

~ Gently deflate the dough, turn it over, and let it rest another hour covered.  

~ Place the dough in a greased 9x5 loaf pan, cover with plastic wrap (sprayed with nonstick 
    spray) and let rise two more hours OR PLACE IN REFRIGERATOR.  Dough will get 
    noticeably puffy.  I pulled mine from the refrigerator and placed in a 100 degree oven for 
    the last two-hour rise.  

~ Place rack just below the middle and preheat to 425.  In the meantime, whisk egg white
    and 2 tsp water.  Brush over top of loaf.

~ Bake bread for 15 minutes, remove, lightly tent with aluminum foil, and place back in 350
   degree oven for 30 more minutes until bread is deeply golden brown and thermometer 
   inserted into center reads 190 degrees.  

~ Cool five minutes in pan and then remove to cooling rack to cool completely.