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artisan cheddar cheese bread

Homemade artisan cheese bread - Yeasted bread recipe

A rustic loaf that filled with pockets melted cheddar cheese. An all-in-one guide about how to make a perfect homemade artisan cheese bread.
Prep Time 14 hrs 20 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Total Time 15 hrs
Course N/A
Cuisine French
Servings 1 loaf

Ingredients
  

For the sponge

  • 1 c bread flour
  • 1 c water room temperature
  • ¼ tsp instant yeast

For the dough

  • 2 ⅓ c unbleached bread flour
  • 1 ¼ tsp instant yeast
  • ¾ c water + 1tbsp, room temperature
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 c cheddar cheese freshly shredded

Instructions
 

Make sponge starter

  • For this recipe, use a measuring 4 cup glass or a large mixing bowl so the sponge has room to rise.
  • Stir together bread flour, water (room temperature) and yeast with a spoon/fork until everything is combined. Cover tightly with plastic wrap.
  • Let the sponge sit at room temperature until it has risen and begins to collapse before incorporate into flour mixture. Approximately 8 hours (maximum 24 hours).

Mixing process

  • In a mixing bowl of a stand mixer, combine flour, yeast, and sponge. Use a dough hook on medium-low speed to mix everything together until the dough starts to form and no dry ingredient remains in the bottom of the bowl. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl if necessary. There will be some wet flour stick to the sides, it is fine. Approximately 2 minutes.
  • Cover the mixing bowl with plastic wrap or kitchen towel and let the dough rest for 15-20 minutes, the dough should expand after resting.
  • Add salt to the dough and continue kneading on medium-low speed until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side. Approximately 3 minutes.
  • Add half the amount of cheese and continue kneading for 3 more minutes.
  • Transfer the dough to a lightly grease large mixing bowl, cover it tightly with plastic wrap and let it rest for 30 minutes.
  • The dough will expand almost by half after this resting period.

Hand kneading & proofing process

  • Grease your hand lightly with flour and start kneading the dough.
  • First fold: pick up the edge of the dough that is furthest from you and fold toward the middle. Turn the bowl about 45 degree and repeat the folding. Continue doing so for two complete rounds. Put the dough seam side down. Cover the mixing bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let it rest for 30 minutes.
  • Second fold: repeat the above process and let the dough rest for another extra 30 minutes. You’ll notice the dough is expanding and easier to handle compared to the first fold.
  • Third fold: repeat the process one more time. By this time, the dough is more elastic and very easy to handle. You might want to do three complete rounds instead of two because of the size of the dough now. Again, let the dough rest for another 30 minutes.
  • Fourth fold: the last fold of this proofing/resting process. The dough is expanding to its desired size by this time. You’ll feel how light and elastic it is when doing the folding the process. After the fourth fold, let the dough rest for 1 to 1.5 hours or double in size.

Shaping process

  • Heavily grease your choice of Dutch oven with rice flour or line with parchment paper. I used my 8 inches cast iron for this homemade artisan cheese bread.
  • Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface. Press and stretch the dough into a round shape then add the remaining of shredded cheese in the middle of the dough.
  • Repeat the above folding process: pick up the edge of the dough fold toward the middle.
  • Then put the dough seam side down, using both of your hands to drag the dough into small circle and form it into a smooth round dough.
  • Place the dough seam side down, in your desired baking pan. Cover it (make sure to leave plenty of room for the dough to rise) and let it double in size, approximately 1 to 1.5 hours. I use a big mixing bowl to cover my bread dough. If you’re using Dutch oven, you can put it inside a clean trash bag to proof the dough.
  • By proofing your bread dough directly on your choice of baking pan (Dutch oven/cast iron), you will avoid running into a risk of deflating it while turning the dough from proofing basket onto baking pan later.

Scoring and baking process

  • Prepare a hot water bath with a hot stone and put on the lowest rack of the oven 30 minutes before baking time to create steaming effect.
  • You can dust flour over the top of the bread before scoring to create an Artisan bread effect (50% rice flour + 50% bread flour). Rice flour has a higher scorch temperature that helps it retain its white color in the oven. If you prefer all white surface on the bread after baking, use 100% rice flour.
  • Use a fine-mesh sieve filled with dust flour, hold it above the bread dough and gently tap the sides as you move around to evenly coat the surface.
  • Using a sharp knife or a sharp lame concave make desire patterns on top of the loaf (about ½ inch deep for each slash).
  • Put the loaf into the oven immediately. You can create more steam by spraying water into the oven right before closing the door. Bake the bread at 450 until the crust turns almost dark brown for 30 to 40 minutes. Remember to turn the pan half way during the process.
  • Let the bread cool down completely, about 2 hours, before serving.

Notes

Serving and storing

  • It is best to wait for the bread cool down completely before slicing and serving. Approximately 2 hours at room temperature.
  • Slicing the bread too soon when it is still warm will result in a gummy and sticky slices of bread.
  • If you plan to eat the bread within one day, you can just simply store the bread cut side down on a cutting board or any flat, clean surface that’s big enough for the bread. The rustic crust will help to seal and maintain the bread flavor & texture from staling and drying.
  • Otherwise, wrap your homemade artisan cheese bread in bee wax paper or parchment paper, or put it inside a paper bag can keep it up to 2 days, at room temperature.
  • Don’t store artisan bread, or any bread in refrigerator as it’ll become stale faster than store at room temperature.