In Israel we have great dairy products. Cottage cheese to die for. Lots of excellent hard cheeses and a great tasting selection of soft white cheeses. We spread them on toast, or bake them into pies, or pastries, or just spoon them over salads. It is just this kind of cheese that I used in this bread replacing some of the liquid. You can use any soft white spreadable cheese for this although you may have to slightly adjust the water/flour ratio. This bread will keep for several days, and makes great toast. Oh, and it fills your whole house with the most heavenly aroma while it bakes!
Here's What You'll Need: (for 2 loaves)
2 cups (about 500 g) soft white cheese
3 Tbs. sugar
1 egg, beaten*
3/4 cup warm water
1 Tbs. dry yeast
1/2 tsp baking soda
6 cups (about 4 1/4 cups) AP flour
1 1/4 Tbs salt
* I only use large eggs.
Here's What You'll Need to Do:
1. Place the cheese, sugar, egg and water in a large bowl and mix thoroughly. (You can use your mixer on low speed for a minute or so.
2. In another bowl, mix the baking soda with the yeast and 2 cups of the flour. Then add this to the liquid mixture slowly while it continues to mix on slow speed. At this point you can add the salt. Slowly add the rest of the flour while continuing to mix until the dough 'cleans the bowl'.
3. Leave the ball of dough in the bowl. Sprinkle a little flour over the top, cover with plastic wrap, and place in the refrigerator to rise until doubled, about 3-4 hours.
until it looks like this...
4. Remove the dough to a lightly floured surface, knead for about 1 minute. You will notice that after a slow rise in the refrigerator the dough is less sticky, and more flexible and easier to knead!
5. Divide the dough into 2 equal-ish pieces. At this point you can shape them as loaves and place the dough in lightly oiled loaf pans. Or, you can shape them as 'batards' (like thick torpedoes) and let them rise free-form on parchment paper or a peel covered with corn meal. (What I did.) Either way, let the dough rest and rise. In loaf pans until it rises above the sides of the pan. On a peel, until almost doubled. Either way, about 45 minutes.
I slashed the dough just before baking. If you do this, slash using a serrated knife (or razor blade) about 1/4 in (3 mm) deep, just before placing in the oven.
6. About 20 minutes before baking time, pre-heat the oven to 400 F (200 C). Bake (with steam for a hard crust, without steam for a soft crust) for about 30 minutes or until they are a beautiful deep brown and smell incredible.
and toasted with butter...
7. Cool on a rack. Bitayavon (Hebrew for Bon Appetit).