This is the first Bread Baking Day I have participated in thanks to an invite from Natashya of Living in the Kitchen with Puppies. She is hosting this month’s BBD. The theme is Twisted Breads which means there is a lot of wiggle room.

I have learned quite a bit about making bread over the last year. Enough, I think to create my own spin on a simple but elegant braided bread. I used a bread recipe adapted from Breads and Spreads by Edward C. Rees.

This is a cheese and shallot stuffed bread. The filling is made with different cheeses, dried shallots and garlic.

    Braided Cheese and Garlic Onion Loaf
      1 pkg (2 1/4 tsp) yeast
      1 14 tsp salt
      4 cups bread flour
      1/4 cup honey
      1 1/4 cups milk
      1 egg
      1/2 stick margarine {I used unsalted butter}

Heat the milk, honey, and margarine/butter in a saucepan until the butter is melted.
Combine 2 cups flour, yeast, and salt in large mixing bowl and mix well.
Add the warm but not hot (abt 115°) liquid to the flour mixture and beat until all ingredients are thoroughly mixed, about 30 seconds at low speed.
Add egg and continue to mix for about 2 minutes.
Gradually stir in remaining flour to form a soft dough, saving abt 1/2 cup flour to use while kneading.
Turn out onto a lightly floured bread and knead hard for 5 – 10 minutes until dough is smooth and elastic.
Place dough in a greased bowl, cover and set in a warm spot to rise.
When dough has doubled in size (abt 45 minutes) punch down and knead on floured board for about 5 minutes.
Roll the dough out into a 12 x 8 inch rectangle.

    Filling
      1 stick margarine/butter
      1 cup finely chopped onion or 1/4 cup instant minced onion
      1 Tbl Parmesan cheese {I used a blend of Parmesan, Romano, and Asiago}
      1 tsp garlic
      1 tsp paprika

Melt the margarine in a saucepan and stir in the dried onions, cheese, garlic and paprika.
Spread this mixture over the rectangular piece of dough. {I cut the strips before I spread the mixture. And since the mix didn’t blend, ‘spread’ is really pushing it.}
With a sharp knife cut the rectangle lengthwise into three 4 x 18 strips.
Starting on the 18″ side roll up each strip.
Pinch the ends closed and pale the three ropes, seam side down, on a greased cookie sheet.
Braid the ropes together.
Cover with dish towel and set in a warm place to rise.
When doubled in size bake in a preheated 350° oven for 35 – 35 minutes or until it has turned golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped.

Okay, I made some serious changes with this one. First, I added some Parmesan cheese to the dough with the second batch of flour. It added a great deal of flavor to the bread. Which was a good thing since there was way too much bread for the amount of cheese. This would be better with a more delicate dough. There was simply not enough filling for this particular dough. And the cheese/butter blend did NOT blend but formed a clunky mess that did not mix with the butter. I used the cheese mix in two of the ropes and used the unmixed garlic butter to wash the dough before baking. I used just Mozarella in the third rope. Next time I think I will use thick strips of cheese, even though I like the look of the ‘browned’ cheese, and lots of it. The butter in the cheese mix made it difficult for the ‘pinches’ to stay together.

But the taste, the taste was wonderful. The mix of cheeses added more depth than just using Parmesan. Adding cheese to the dough mix increased the flavor and added extra texture in each bite.

Now you need to visit Natashya’s site to see the other beautiful twisted breads for BBD #30.

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