May and June are my least favorite months down here in southern Cali. They’re typically cloudy, grey, and kind of cold—just generally yuck weather.
These weather patterns are known as “May Grey” and “June Gloom.” June Gloom, while an appropriate name, irritates me to no end; the words don’t rhyme and for whatever reason that fact bothers me almost as much as the gloom itself.
To cheer myself up during this depressing time of the year I decided to spend some time doing one of my most favorite things in the world: baking bread. Words cannot describe how happy I get when I see my bread is perfectly risen . . . and eating hot bread right out of the oven has got to be the cure for pretty much anything.
On a side note, I’m aware of how totally spoiled I am by the perfect weather in San Diego, and that I really shouldn’t complain about a little grey now and then. I live in paradise and I eat hot bread with tons of butter and life is good. Despite the grey and the gloom.
Returning to bread: this cheddar cheese bread is everything that is good in the world. It’s soft and so cheesy with tons of flavor from the cheddar, garlic powder, and dry mustard. It’s enough to make my heart happy during this time of darkness.
It’s also the perfect accompaniment to a cup of soup for a nice cozy dinner, but hearty enough to be filling for an afternoon snack. And I think making grilled cheese with it would be epic. It’s hard to go wrong with cheese-stuffed bread filled with yet more cheese, then fried to crispy perfection.
Some might call that a heart attack on a plate but I just call it beautiful.
PS, happy Cinco de Mayo from me and Cookie :).
- 3/4 cup warm water
- 1 tablespoon instant yeast
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
- 3/4 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 large egg, at room temperature, lightly beaten
- 2 1/2 to 3 1/4 cups bread flour
- 1 cup (3 to 4 ounces) grated cheddar cheese
- 1 cup (3 to 4 ounces) cubed cheddar cheese
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon sesame seeds (optional)
- Generously coat a 9- x 5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray. Set aside.
- Combine water and yeast in the bowl of a standing mixer and let sit 2 to 3 minutes. Whisk in vegetable oil, butter, sugar, salt, mustard, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, egg, and half of the bread flour. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- Fit the mixer with the dough hook and mix dough on lowest speed for 10 to 12 minutes, adding more flour 1/4 cup at a time as needed to form a soft, elastic dough that just clears the sides of the bowl. (At first the dough will look like it’s not going to come together—be patient and it will. Start adding your flour once it does.)
- Form dough into a ball and spray dough lightly with cooking spray. Loosely cover bowl with plastic wrap and let dough rise 30 minutes.
- Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and gently deflate by pressing with the palm of your hand, fingers outstretched.
- Press dough into an oval and spread grated cheese over the top. Press the cheese into the dough, then roll oval up in jelly roll fashion. With a sharp knife, cut roll in thick slices, then cut each slice in half. Arrange dough in prepared loaf pan. Scatter cubed cheese over the dough and drizzle with butter, then sprinkle remaining 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder and sesame seeds (if using) over the top.
- Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise 30 to 45 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place loaf pan on a baking sheet (to catch drips of cheese) and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until bread is browned on top and cheese melts. Cool in pan 10 minutes before serving.