I have become fascinated with bread of late and am experimenting with a lot of recipes. One that found great favour with the family over the holiday season was a savoury loaf I baked with garlic, chili and cheese in it. I did not have a lot hope that my sisters-in-law would like it, as they are very squeamish when it comes to chillies, but even they went back for second and third helpings. That decided it; it was a recipe I had to share with you.
Melt 50 g butter and allow it to cool.
Heat a cup of milk (250 ml) to a lukewarm state. Do not bring it to boil. If you are using active dry yeast, instead of the instant yeast I will be using, you can add a packet to the milk and wait about 15 minutes for it to dissolve.
In a bowl, mix 3 cups flour (750 ml) with 2 teaspoons salt (10 ml) and two packets of instant yeast, unless you used active dry yeast in the previous step.
Add the butter to the milk and mix.
Add the liquids to the dry ingredients.
Make a rough dough by slicing the ingredients with a knife to mix it. When it looks like this, you can put the knife aside and bring it together by hand.
If the dough is too dry, add a tablespoon of water at a time until it has the right consistency, which is an elastic dough.
Knead the dough thoroughly in a surface prepared with flour to keep it from sticking to the surface.
Put the dough back in the bowl, after rolling it in a ball, and cover with cling wrap. Leave in a warm dry place to rise to double its size.
Once the dough has risen, knock it back by kneading it thoroughly again. Stretch it out and add a heaped spoonful of crushed garlic and a flattened teaspoon of crushed chili - or to taste.
Spread the garlic and chili evenly over the dough.
Add about a cup (250 ml) of grated cheddar cheese, or any other strongly flavoured cheese and sprinkle it evenly over the dough. Knead the dough thoroughly to work the newly added ingredients into the dough.
Roll the dough in a ball and leave in warm dry place to rise to double its size. Cover with cling film again.
Knock the dough back again, once it has risen. Knead well and form into a loaf shape.
For interest sake, you may want to give the loaf a quick twist. This is optional.
Put the dough in a loaf pan and cover with cling film again. Put in a warm dry place to rise.
Preheat your oven to 200°C, remove the film and put the loaf in the oven for about 30 minutes. Reduce the heat to 180°C and continue baking for another 15 minutes or until it is golden brown and pulling away from the sides. You will know it is ready when you hear a hollow sound when you knock on it.
Brush the warm loaf with some milk, mixed with a bot of sugar to give it a glossy finish. The hint of sweetness works well with the chili and cheese combo.
The warm bread will absorb the wetness within a few seconds.
Slice once it is cool enough to handle and serve with real butter.
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Remember to keep nurturing your TALENT for making PRETTY things.
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