Lately I have been working harder later in the day, and relaxing in the mornings. Well, maybe not exactly relaxing, but at least not working as hard, let's say. For instance, right now it's noon time and I am writing this post, while the world is out trying to make a living. I say, it's much more enjoyable, and not less profitable, to do it my way. And certainly much more fun. The weather is finally showing signs of turning springward and after about 3 weeks of terribly cold and rainy weather, it is warm outside. Warm enough that I have turned off the heat, opened the windows to air out the house a little. Get rid of the mustiness of winter caused by being shut down tight for the last few months. Birds are in the trees in the backyard, the trees are budding and the first flowers are blooming. What a change from last week! Last week we has snow, sleet, freezing rain and strong winds for 5 days straight, non-stop!
The relief that comes with spring weather made me start thinking about breads that would reflect my good mood and, after a little searching, and a little bit of my own tweaking, I came up with this fragrant loaf that is super tasty and at the same time refreshing and 'sunny', if you can say that about bread. This bread, a lemony cheese bread, is dairy, something that must be noted, because I don't usually add dairy to my breads, but this time I had to. The sharp tang of the cheese helps to make this a very special bread. Oh, and the lemon zest, too, of course. In the end this bread is perfect for warming weather and brunch. It is superb when toasted, and even when not. You'll love it I'm sure.
Here's What You'll Need:2/3 cup of milk, room temperature
1 tsp. dry yeast
2 Tbs. vegetable oil (I use canola)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. fresh lemon zest
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheese (I used cheddar, but Swiss, Colby or Jack would be fine)
2 cups AP flour, about
Here's What You'll Need To Do:1. In a large bowl mix the yeast into the milk. Then add the egg, sugar, salt, and cheese. Mix well. Finally add the oil, and lemon zest mixing all the time. Then 1 cup of the flour. Mix until fully incorporated. This mixture will still be quite wet.
2/ Slowly add another cup of flour, a little at a time, until the dough forms and starts to 'clean the bowl'.
3. Remove the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead until it is smooth and elastic. Place the kneaded dough in a lightly-oiled bowl, turn to coat, then cover and let it rise until doubled. This will take at least an hour and a half, maybe two hours.
4. Remove the dough from the bowl, careful not to fully deflate, then form it into a 'boule', i.e., a ball with a tight surface. Pull and tuck underneath then place on a parchment covered baking tray, covered with lightly-oiled plastic wrap, to rise again.This time it will take about 45 minutes.
5. Just before baking, brush the surface of the dough with egg diluted with maybe a tablespoon of water. Bake at 350 F (180 C) for 35-40 minutes until it is a rich golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.
6. If you can wait until it is completely cooled, then slather it with butter or cream cheese. Otherwise, it tastes even better when still a little warm.