This is a lovely cheese bread recipe from George Greenstein which I plucked out of his book, Secrets of a Jewish Baker.
Any novice “breadster” can make it. The recipe won’t jangle your nerves; you simply follow the steps without feeling intimidated that you’re doing something wrong. It’s not a recipe that resembles a calisthenics session in the kitchen (I’ve had my share of recipes that read like an Olympic marathon). Greenstein writes it like you’re both in his kitchen and he’s talking to you as he goes through the steps, minus the mumbo-jumbo.
In Secrets of a Jewish Baker, Greenstein offers you the choice of doing this bread using either the sponge method or the direct dough method. I chose the sponge method. The making of a sponge gives bread that extra soft texture, almost like getting a milky finish.
Greenstein says that this bread recipe is a favorite of many farm families. That clues you into the kind of bread it is: homemade, wholesome and farm-tasty goodness. I used sharp cheddar cheese but he says you can vary the recipe with an assortment of hard cheeses. Another option is to mix in your shredded cheese with the dough when you’re combining the ingredients prior to kneading; or before the second rising, flatten your dough into a rectangular shape, sprinkle the shredded cheese over it and roll it up jelly style. Doing it this way gives you that wonderful swirl inside the bread. Greenstein says he prefers this method because it “has more cheese flavor and added eye appeal.”
The top picture above shows one loaf already brushed with egg wash (I applied the egg wash twice, by the way) with Kraft parmesan cheese sprinkled on top, ready to go into the oven. The second picture shows the two loaves coming right off the “hot presses.” The parmesan gives it that appealing crusty look, as if saying, come, sink your teeth in…
At first, I doubted that the swirl would be apparent. I had made raisin bread before and the cinnamon swirl was very subtle; you could see it but the swirl lines looked anemic. So when I made this bread, I was expecting to see a similar faint swirl.
Was I wrong! Here’s the final product, sliced:
How could I have doubted a master baker like Greenstein? That rich yellow swirl tickled me pink.
To respect the author’s copyright, I won’t post the recipe here. If you’re interested, send me at email at email@example.com. I’d be happy to send it to you, although a better alternative would be for you to buy his book (no, I’m not on commission) or else borrow it from your local library. Title: Secrets of a Jewish Baker. Author: George Greenstein. Recipe title: Cheese Bread.