Sunday, September 10, 2017

Applewood Smoked Cheddar~Cranberry Bread

The nights have turned chilly and there's definitely less humidity during the day, which makes me know that Fall is around the corner.  I love baking bread and this combination is a winner.

Bread has always been the center of each culture; from western Asia, where wheat was cultivated to Europe and North Africa.  Towns development as opposed to the nomadic lifestyle.  Similar to the rise of rice in eastern Asia and maize in the Americas.

The idea of a standing oven for baking bread is attributed to the Greeks and in the Middle Ages, it served as a staple food not only in the home, but in the trenches during warfare where a stale piece of bread sustained the weary soldier.

Today's bread, made in commercial bakeries, includes chemical additives to speed up the process of fermentation. Common additives include: L-cystine, sodium matabisulfate, and oxidants such as potassium bromate or ascorbic acid.  I don't know about you, but these additives are not something I want in my bread!

The Applewood Smoked Cheddar is the perfect accompaniment to the dried cranberries and this "brioche-like" bread is good plain, with butter, toasted, or as we had it the next day, as grilled cheese!

Applewood Smoked Cheddar~Cranberry Bread

4 1/2 tsp. (2 pkg. Red Star Quick Rise Yeast
3 T warm water (about 110F-115F-degrees)
2 T maple syrup
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1/2 cup silken Tofu
4 large eggs
2 cups shredded smoked Cheddar or Gouda cheese
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
4 1/2 to 5 cups King Arthur Unbleached Bread Four
1 cup sweetened dried cranberries

In a 1 cup-glass measure, whisk together the yeast and maple syrup into the warm water.  Wait 5 to 10 minutes for the mixture to foam.

In a bowl of a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, cream the butter, then add the silken Tofu and blend together until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Scrape the sides of the bowl as needed with a rubber spatula.

Beat in eggs, one at a time, again scraping down the sides of the bowl.  Stir in the cheese, salt, pepper, yeast mixture and 4 cups of flour; blend well.  Remove the paddle attachment and attach the dough hook.

Mix in cranberries and gradually add enough remaining flour until a soft dough forms and it no longer clings to the sides of the bowl.
Remove dough to a lightly floured board and knead until smooth and elastic...about 8 minutes.  For me, this is the fun part and tends to really relax me:-)

Place the dough in a lightly buttered large bowl, right side down, then turn over and place plastic wrap over to cover.  Let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.
Deflate dough and divide in half.  Shape into two 6-7-inch round loaves and place into two buttered 9-inch round cake pans.  Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise again for 35-45 minutes.  Near the end of the rising process, preheat oven to 400F-degrees.  Uncover and with a sharp knife or lame, make a 1/4-inch deep "X" slash across the top of each loaf.  (Just like when making Irish Soda Bread!)

Bake 25-30 minutes until golden brown, tenting with aluminum foil to prevent excess browning.  An instant-read thermometer inserted in the center of the loaf should register 190-200F-degrees.  Remove from the oven and after a few minutes, turn loaves out onto a rack to cool completely.
Such a wonderfully scented bread that really topped off our Fall dinner.  Baking your own bread is so rewarding and a lot more healthy...except the fact it's so good you want to eat the whole thing. Enjoy!!


  1. I adore bread, esp. the homemade ones. That's why I always find it hard to go on low carbs. I would love a couple of slices with my pumpkin soup for a soul satisfying dinner! Interesting that you have added tofu there..

    1. I'm with you and if we lived closer, I'd be at your doorstep for some of that soup; one of my favorites for Fall!

  2. oh, YUM! Two of my favourite ingredients! I love Applewood Smoked cheese.
    Yes, it's interesting, isn't it, how bread has developed in so many unique identities and is a common denominator to all countries {well, most!} and I think pancakes are too, in some way shape or form in most countries.
    Happy Autumn! xo

    1. I agree with you and I love studying the history of food; the ties that bind us:-)

  3. Thank you for sharing such a tempting and delicious looking bread! I love breads like this and cant wait to try it!

    1. It was perfect with this fall weather upon us!

  4. I wish I had better luck with making bread. Even the simplest recipes have always been a challenge for me.

    1. I wish I lived near and I would walk you through it. So relaxing and not hard at all, but can be intimidating!

  5. MMMMM this sounds incredible, and I'll bet it made the best grilled cheese sandwiches ever! I'm like you, and love homemade bread, Susan.

  6. I love the blog post, and you helped me make such a fun card with it!