Thursday, October 13, 2011

Buttermilk Cheddar Chive Bread

Whoops, I thought I posted this recipe a couple of days ago! I had the whole thing all typed up but didn't post it. Sorry about the lack of recipes the past couple of days. We've been having things that aren't worth sharing on the blog! For instance, I tried a new recipe for swiss and broccoli pasta but it wasn't that great and I don't want to share recipes that aren't really good.

When I was 10 years old, my grandparents came to visit us and for dinner one night we went to the house of one of their old friends. It was a very memorable meal for a picky kid like me because it was so GOOD. She served some kind of chicken with cranberries (my mom told me how to make it when I talked to her the other day so that recipe should be coming soon!), as well as cheddar bread. That bread was amazing! It was a tiny bit sweet and tender and studded with cheddar cheese. I've tried to replicate the bread a few times over the years but was never successful- until now, that is!

Much to my surprise, the bread recipe that I made up this afternoon completely hit the nail on the head. It was more or less an accident, too. When I made biscuits earlier to use up leftover buttermilk, I accidentally used leftover whipping cream instead of buttermilk! Hey, the containers are both yellow and the same size and shape. So much for that! I didn't want to waste the buttermilk though so just kinda made up this bread. Thankfully, it turned out perfectly :D Even better than the original really because of the flavor from the chives!

Quick note: The dough doesn't rise as much as other bread recipes. Don't worry. I'm not sure if it has something to do with the buttermilk or because of the chives (onion, garlic and salt all inhibit yeast growth), but the finished bread is great so don't worry about it! And if you don't have a mixer, just do all the kneading by hand. You may want to knead it for a couple more minutes.

Also, to make a warm spot for my dough to rise, I always do the same thing. Turn the oven to 300 degrees for 45 seconds, then turn it off. For my oven at least, that makes a perfectly warm place for the dough to do its thang.

See the cheese pockets? Mmmm!

Buttermilk Cheddar Chive Bread

3 C flour
3 T sugar
1 1/2 t salt
1 1/2 T dried chives
1 packet yeast (2 1/4 t)
1/2 C butter
1/2 C buttermilk (plus a bit more!)
1/4 lb cheddar, cut into 1/4 inch cubes

Melt the butter and set aside so it can cool for a couple of minutes. Stir together flour, sugar, salt, chives and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer. Stir the 1/2 C buttermilk into the melted butter and then stir into the dry ingredients. Attach the dough hook to the stand mixer and knead until all the ingredients are incorporated, adding more buttermilk (probably about 1/4 cup) or flour as necessary to make a non sticky dough. Knead 7-8 minutes on low speed, then knead the cheese in by hand.

Form the dough into a ball and coat with a teaspoon or so of oil. Cover the bowl with a piece of greased plastic wrap and set in a warm place to rise 1 hour. The dough will grow to be only about half again as big as the original size but that's okay. Punch the dough down and place in a greased 9 by 5 inch bread pan. Re-cover with the plastic wrap and let rise 1 more hour in a warm place. The middle of the loaf should reach the top of the pan by this point.

Remove the plastic wrap and bake in a 350 degree oven until the loaf is cooked through (I test it by sticking a toothpick into the center, just like with a cake), about 30-40 minutes. You can cover the loaf with foil if it browns too much. Let the bread cool for a few minutes and then slice and serve warm.

Let the leftover bread cool completely, wrap it in foil, and stick it in the fridge. It will be great toasted for several more days!

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