Monday, October 20, 2008

Cheese and garlic bread

This recipe goes along with comfort foods, because there is nothing better than hot bread, fresh from the oven. This was also the first recipe I could put together on my own. My mom's kitchen was the best to cook in (of course I didn't realize at the time - I only realized when I had my own kitchen and discovered that my gadgets aren't nearly as high quality as my mother's. Nor do I have as much counter space). When I tried the recipe (and it worked!) I was ecstatic, and baked the bread all the time. As time went on, I baked less and less, and cooked more and more, until here I am, 15 years later, in search of that original recipe. I tried several, and none were quite right, and after a lot of tweaking, I finally decided on the final version. And now I present Baby Melissa's Cheese Bread (with modifications).

2 cups warm milk
2 packets active dry yeast
2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
2 tbsp butter
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
3 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
5 cups flour

1. Heat milk - I microwave 2 cups of milk for 2 1/2 minutes. You want it hot, but not so hot that it gets a skin. Mix the milk and the 2 packets of yeast in a bowl. Let sit 5 minutes.

2. After 5 minutes, add garlic, onion, salt, sugar, butter and about a quarter of the cheese. The reason I add some of the cheese now is because the hot milk will melt it, mixing it with everything. I like to keep some of it for later so that there are also pieces of cheese in the bread.

3. Add the flour, a little at a time. Also add the rest of the cheese, but reserve a little Parmesan for a garnish. When it becomes too hard to stir with a spoon, I knead it in the bowl with my hands. If you choose to do this (if you don't have an electric mixer, like myself (ahem, christmas present!?!)), put some oil on your hands so the dough doesn't stick to them as much.

4. Once the dough is kneaded, grease 2 bread pans and divide the dough in half. Put some more oil on your hands and press the dough into the pan - not too firmly, but you want the dough to reach all the corners. The oil on your hands help coat the bread with oil, too - it will brown nicely. Now, sprinkle some Parmesan cheese on top for a garnish.

5. Cover with a damp dish cloth and let rise for ~ 1 hour.

From Food pics

This is what it will look like after an hour (it should double in size).

From Food pics

6. Preheat the overn to 350. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Serve warm.

From Food pics

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