Recipe of the Week: Cheese and Pepper Bread

Regular readers of this recipe column will remember a few weeks back when I wrote about creating a cookbook for my daughter Emma, who had just got her own apartment out of town. That required spending a lot of time going through my cookbook collection. There are a lot of memories attached to many of these recipes and looking through them is akin to going through the family photo album. This bread recipe is one that I have made many times for family, for parties, and for the wedding dinner of my husband's best man. Emma was pretty excited when she called to say she was going to make this bread by herself for the first time today. So in a gesture of solidarity I thought I would share this wonderful recipe with TreeHugger readers. I might even bake one myself.

I find this recipe changes with the cheese that you use. The older, sharper cheddar will give you more flavour. The texture and moisture of the bread changes as well so you might want to experiment a bit. It also makes great toast.Cheese and Pepper Bread

1 tsp sugar
1/2 cup lukewarm water
1 tbsp active dry yeast
1/4 cup butter melted, cooled to lukewarm
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tbsp milk
1 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 cup old cheddar cheese, grated
2 1/2 cups (approx.) all purpose flour

1. Dissolve sugar in water and sprinkle yeast over top. Let stand for 10 minutes. Stir briskly with a fork.
2. In a large bowl mix the butter, eggs, milk, salt, pepper, 1 tsp of cayenne and cheese. Beat in the dissolved yeast.
3. Add about 2 1/2 cups flour. Slightly more dough may be needed to make a moderately stiff dough. Turn dough onto a lightly floured board and knead for 5 minutes. Place in a buttered bowl and lightly butter the top of the dough. Cover and let rise in a warm place until double in bulk, about 1 hour. Wash hands thoroughly after handling dough to remove all traces of chili oil.
4. Punch down the risen dough and form into a ball. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes. Form dough into a mound and place on a buttered baking sheet.
5. Cover and let rise until double in bulk, about 45 minutes. Bake at 375 F for 25-30 minutes. Brush hot loaf with a little melted butter and sprinkle with remaining cayenne.

Yields 1 loaf

From Cynthia Wine's Hot and Spicy Cooking