Spiral Cheddar Loaves

Cheese. Let’s talk about it. It’s pretty much the best thing ever right? I love all varieties from the finest triple cream brie to casual colby jack – I don’t discriminate. They’re all so salty, creamy and satisfying. And how do we feel about bread? Yea, bread’s not bad either. So naturally the right thing to do is put them together. What you end up with is this positively sinful spiral.

Disclaimer: if you’re attempting to stay away from bread and/or cheese just go ahead and stop reading now – because if you read on and I do these loaves any sort of justice in my writing – you’ll be high tailing it to the store to grab a block of cheese and some instant yeast.

Equipment: rolling pin, bench flour, sheet pans, parchment paper

1 ¼ cups bread flour
1 t salt
½ t instant yeast
½ cup cool water

1 full batch starter (above)
1 cup + 2 T – 1 ¼ cups lukewarm water
1 t salt
1 t garlic powder
1 t cayenne pepper
3 ½ cups bread flour
½ t instant yeast
3 cups grated cheddar (or a melty cheese of your choice – don’t be afraid to use a mixture!)

To begin you’ll need to make a starter – mix the bread flour, salt, yeast and ½ cup water in a medium sized bowl. Cover and let it rest overnight at room temperature.

For the dough: mix all of the risen starter with the water, flour, yeast, and seasoning. Knead by hand or with a mixer until you have a smooth dough. Place it in a slightly greased bowl and cover. Let the dough rise for 1 ½ – 2 hours or until it’s almost doubled in bulk.
*Note: find a warm place in your kitchen to allow your dough to rise, it likes the warmth. Also, rising times are used as a guideline – go by what the dough looks like – the time it takes for your dough to rise is dependent on how long you kneaded your dough, what type of yeast you used, how warm your kitchen is…lots of variables. So don’t be alarmed if it takes a little longer or a little shorter than the given time.
Turn the dough out onto a clean dry surface, gently pat it down until you have a rectangle that’s ¾ inch thick and about 9”x12”. Spritz the dough with a bit of water and then top with all of the grated cheese.Gently roll, from a long side, into a log and pinch to close. Place the seam side down on a lightly floured or oiled baking sheet. Cover and allow to rise 1 – 1 ½ hours. It should be puffy, but it will not double in bulk.Preheat your oven to 425 degrees while your dough is rising. Using a serrated knife cut the log into 2 placing the cut side up on parchment paper lined baking sheets. Spread the spiral open a bit to expose all that cheesy goodness.Spritz with water. Once you’ve cut the log you’ll want to get the loaves into the oven as soon as possible. They’ll deflate a bit but they’ll pick right back up. Bake for about 35 minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbly and the bread is a deep golden brown. Allow it to cool (if you have the willpower.)
No one’s going to judge you, however, when you tear right into this loaf while it’s still warm and gooey, in fact, it’s encouraged.

*Note: Cheddar loaf recipe was adapted from King Arthur Flour’s gruyere-stuffed crusty loaves recipe.