If you are ever in need of a quick and delicious bread to serve with dinner, look no further. This bread is fantastic. It requires no yeast (for those of you scared of yeast breads or for those who didn’t plan enough time for bread to rise – like I would ever do that!) and is moist and flavorful. The bread is laden with pockets of sharp cheddar cheese and if serving it with a main course doesn’t convince you to love it, eating it as toast the next day will. The recipe is simple and fairly quick with the only time constraint coming because the recipe cautions to let the bread cool for 45 minutes before cutting – I’m afraid I didn’t get that far and while it may have crumbled a bit from being cut into while warm, it was worth it. Another fantastic recipe from Cook’s Illustrated that helped me change up the same old side dishes I always serve with dinner.
Note: If the toothpick comes out with what looks like uncooked batter after testing the bread for doneness, try again in a different spot since the toothpick may have hit a pocket of cheese the first time. You definitely don’t want to overbake the bread or it will be dry. According to the original recipe, the texture of the bread improves as it cools, so if you can, resist the urge to slice the bread while it is still very hot. I can attest that this leftover cheese bread makes excellent toast. Use a toaster oven or baking sheet in a 425-degree oven for 5 to 10 minutes (a conventional toaster can be messy because the pockets of cheese will melt and burn).
- 3 ounces Parmesan cheese, shredded on large holes of box grater (about 1 cup)
- 3 cups (15 ounces) all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
- 4-5 ounces sharp or extra-sharp cheddar cheese, cut into ½-inch cubes
- 1 1/4 cups whole milk (2% milk may be substituted but don’t use skim milk)
- 3 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1 large egg lightly beaten
- 3/4 cup sour cream
- Adjust an oven rack to the middle position in the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 5 by 9-inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray, then sprinkle 1/2 cup of the Parmesan cheese evenly in bottom of pan.
- In a large bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, cayenne, salt, and pepper to combine. Using a rubber spatula, mix in cheddar cheese cubes, breaking up clumps, until cheese is coated with flour. In a medium bowl, whisk together milk, melted butter, egg, and sour cream. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients until just combined (the batter will be heavy and thick). Do not overmix. Scrape batter into prepared loaf pan; spread to sides of pan and level surface with a rubber spatula. Sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup Parmesan evenly over surface.
- Bake until deep golden brown and toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. Cool in pan on wire rack 5 minutes; invert loaf from pan and continue to cool until warm, about 45 minutes. Cut into slices and serve.
Recipe Source: adapted from Cook’s Illustrated