You may remember that I’m in a little Facebook baking group called The Avid Bakers and for 2019 we’ll be baking from The Brown-Eyed Baker’s website. She’s been a food blogger forever and has a ton of great recipes on her site.
Today I’m making her Soft Cheese and Pepperoni Bread, but am renaming it Soft Cheese and Ham Bread because of the substitution of ham for the pepperoni.
Bret made a Costco trip and you know what’s coming….3 pounds of really good sliced ham that needs to be used. That’s OK. It makes a good substitution choice for the pepperoni.
This is a tasty yeast bread with a soft texture and swirls of melty mozzarella cheese and ham. As you can see above, I made a nice chicken salad sandwich with it for lunch today. The flavors of the bread are mild and go together nicely.
This recipe makes two giant standalone loaves of bread and next time I’ll divide it into four smaller loaves. I think the swirl will be more uniform and I can give away the extra loaves!
I’m going to give you my adapted recipe and instructions, but if you’d like to see the original just go to The Brown-Eyed Baker’s page and check out the variations. I’ll be making this bread again. It’s easy to put together, rises beautifully, and the end result is a nice Soft Cheese and Ham Bread!
- 1 C lukewarm water
- 2 pkgs Active Dry Yeast (almost 1 1/2 tbsp)
- 5 1/2 to 6 1/4 C all-purpose flour
- 1 tbsp coarse kosher salt
- 5 tbsp granulated sugar
- 1 C plus 2 tbsp 2% milk
- 1/4 C melted butter, slightly cooled
- 2 1/2 C shredded or cubed mozzarella cheese
- 16-20 slices of thinly sliced, good quality deli ham (about 3-4" rounds)
- In the lukewarm water, stir in the yeast and a pinch of sugar. Let sit to bloom while assembling the rest of the ingredients.
- In a mixing bowl, whisk 5 cups of the flour, salt and sugar together. Pour the milk, yeast mixture, and slightly cooled melted butter into the dry ingredients. Use the paddle attachment and mix on the lowest speed for 2 minutes. Let the dough rest in the bowl for 5 minutes.
- Switch the mixer to the dough hook and mix on medium-low speed for 4 minutes, adjusting with more flour or liquid if needed. (I used almost 6 cups) The dough should be soft, supple, and tacky, but not sticky.
- Lightly oil a very large bowl and place the dough in the bowl, turning to oil the dough. Cover with plastic wrap and set at room temperature for 60-90 minutes until it doubles in size. (It was about 75 minutes for me)
- Lightly dust a counter/surface with flour and turn the dough out onto it. Divide the dough into 2 equal pieces and roll the dough into approximately 8" wide by 12" high rectangles. Sprinkle half of the cheese over each and layer the ham on each rectangle. Roll up the dough as evenly and tightly as possible, starting with the 8" end. Pinch together the seams very well or the cheese will leak out.
- Place a piece of parchment paper onto a large baking sheet and place the loaves seam side down at least 4 inches apart for rising room. Spray or lightly rub the loaves with oil and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let rise at room temperature to 75-90 minutes, until increased to about 1 1/2 times its original size.
- Preheat the oven to 350°. Poke the top crust of the loaves with a toothpick in about six different places to clear out any air pockets. Bake the loaves for 20 minutes, then rotate the pan. Bake for 25 to 30 more minutes until medium to dark golden brown and the internal temperature is about 185°.
- Remove the loaves to a wire rack and cool at least 1 hour before slicing.
Tips and Stuff:
Next time I'll make four smaller loaves - just roll out the dough in smaller rectangles.
The original recipe calls for bread flour, but I used all-purpose and it came out nicely.
If you use Rapid Rise Yeast, you don't have to bloom it, but I have more luck with the Active Dry Yeast. (One day I'll tell you about various hockey puck yeast items I've made....)
Use a digital thermometer to test the temperature - they're cheap and incredibly useful to a baker. No guessing if the bread is done.
Use whatever ingredients you'd like on the bread, but make sure to pat any wet ingredients (black olives, for instance) dry before putting into the bread or it will make a mess.
You can also make spiral rolls if you prefer - just bake for less time.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 36 slices Serving Size: 1 slice
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 464Total Fat: 3gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 6mgSodium: 233mgCarbohydrates: 93gFiber: 3gSugar: 2gProtein: 13g
Nutrition Values are Approximate