It’s finally cooling off around here (truth be told it’s literally freezing), and that means several things. Clothes and bedding are swapped out for snugglier options, my army of space heaters is stationed at their posts, and I don’t have to think twice about heating the house up to do some baking! This afternoon I felt like whipping up some bread to go with the roasted pumpkin, red pepper and potato soup we’re having for dinner. My initial thought was hearty rolls to put that jar of Irish Wholemeal flour to use, but then I saw a recipe for Apple Cheddar Chop Bread that I saved off the King Arthur site. That recipe made way more bread than I wanted and the dough seemed a little lean, so I used it as a springboard to make just want I wanted. Because I bake frequently I did use some specialty baking ingredients I happened to have on hand, but there are easy peasy subs that should yield similarly delicious results!
In the bowl of a stand mixer with the dough hook attached (or a bread machine set to the dough cycle) combine:
- 2 cups King Arthur AP flour
- 1 ½ tsp SAF Gold yeast (or regular bread machine yeast)
- ¾ tsp. salt
- 1 egg
- 2 Tbsp grape seed oil (or other neutral flavored oil)
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- 1 Tbsp barley malt syrup (or 1 Tbsp of sugar, brown sugar or honey)
- 2 Tbsp baker’s special dry milk (or regular powdered milk)
- ½ cup warm water (if you don’t have powdered milk, use ½ cup warm milk)
Mix on low to combine ingredients, then knead for ~5 mins on med-low till you have a smooth, satiny dough. Cover bowl and let dough rise till doubled – about 60 minutes. I used a bread proofing box set at 85 degrees. A proofer is especially helpful when baking during the colder months, but I use mine year ’round.
Gently deflate dough and tip out onto a large piece of parchment paper; pat dough out into a 9″ x 13″ rectangle. Leaving a 2″ border on both long sides, sprinkle over dough:
- 1 cup chopped crisp, sweet-tart apple (such as Jazz or SweeTango)
- 1 cup sharp cheddar cut into small cubes.
Fold both long sides of dough over the filling and pinch them together in the middle; pat ends to seal them as well. Using a long knife or a bench scraper, cut bread widthwise into 1″ strips (don’t worry if you cut through some apples or cheese bits). Do NOT separate the strips – you want the “loaf” to stay together. On a slight diagonal, cut bread into 1″ strips lengthwise. If you’ve done this right the bread will be in 1″ slightly diagonal squares – again do NOT separate them. I apologize for not taking pics of any of this, but you’re a smarty and get what I mean!
Lift bread on parchment and place on a 13″ x 9″ or 15″ x 11″ baking pan. Let rise 30-45 mins or until puffed and almost doubled. During the last 20 minutes of rising, preheat oven to 350. Bake 25-30 mins or until evenly browned. Remove bread to a wire rack to cool slightly. The squares easily pull apart for big or little servings. This bread is soft and fluffy and the sweet-tart apples play off the melty cheddar perfectly. Makes one 5″ x 13″ loaf.
This is a great bread to have with soup or salad for a light dinner or to bring to a potluck, and you can vary it endless ways:
- change the cheese – I think blue cheese with apples and walnuts would rock! or apples and brie…or fresh figs and gorgonzola…or Fontina, craisins and walnuts…or oil cured sundried tomatoes, parm/peccorino shards and oregano…sigh…
- for a sweet dessert/coffee bread, add 1 tsp apple pie spice (or just some cinnamon, cardamom and allspice) and another Tbsp or two of sugar to the dough. Sub in a cup of chopped pecans or walnuts for the cheese. After baking, glaze bread with a simple glaze of powdered sugar and apple cider with a pinch more of those apple pie spices. Yep, I see that variation in my near future!!!