Sunday, April 3, 2011

Challenge #3: Ham & Cheese Bread

Last night my husband and I devised a plan to take the children to the zoo today and while there, have a small picnic.  We would pack a light lunch, some drinks and some snacks and just spend the entire day doing a whole lot of nothing but hanging with the little guys.  I woke early this morning and decided I needed to complete my 3rd challenge or the day would slip by and I would already be off of my routine.  Yikes, can't let that happen.  Since yesterday's challenge was a huge success I thought I would try a ham and cheese bread, our entire lunch in one loaf of bread.  Off to the kitchen I went.

1 cup milk warmed to about 105 degrees F
3 tsp yeast
4 1/2 C flour
1/4 C butter
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 C ham; diced
1 C shredded cheese
1/2 C filling

Everything is measured and ready to go...we are on a schedule so I needed to have everything handy.

Got the milk warming on the oven so I could put it in a bowl with my yeast to let it dissolve.  This took way too long so next time I will just use the good old microwave.

Place warmed milk in a bowl, add yeast and dissolve for about 2 minutes.  Add 2 C of flour and mix until somewhat smooth.  The dough will be a bit firm.  Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm, draft-free place to rise for 1 hour; or until doubled in size.
Note: I like to preheat my oven for 1-2 minutes and then turn it off.  It's the perfect location for rising dough.  If you can't place your hand on your oven wall without burning yourself your oven is too hot!

Just before the dough is done rising, combine your butter, sugar and salt in a bowl.  Using your mixer, beat on high until fluffy; scarping sides of bowl while mixing.  Add your eggs and beat a little longer.  Add this mixture to your dough and mix until somewhat smooth.  Add in 1 C flour and mix.  Take dough, place on a floured work surface and continue to add in flour (you may not need all of the flour) until dough is somewhat sticky but does not stick to your work surface.  Knead dough for about 8 minutes. 
Add in your ham and continue kneading until ham is distributed evenly.  Dough will begin to get sticky but will firm up as you knead your dough.

Once your ham is distributed evenly, coat a large bowl with a bit of oil, place your dough in the bowl and turn until all sides are lightly coated.  Cover your bowl with plastic wrap and place in a warm, draft-free place to rise for about 1 hour; or until doubled in size.

My second rise is complete so now I can roll out my dough.  I had to use my kitchen table for this step.  I rolled my dough out to an 18" circle.  I then placed a 1C measuring cup dead center and used my pizza cutter to cut four slits from the edge up to the measuring cup.  I then made 4 more slits in each of the four sections; so I ended up with 5 triangles in each section.  If your sections are not exactly equal, no worries, you are going to be folding them over.

4 oz cream cheese with chives
1 tsp minced garlic
2 tbsp butter; at room temp
1/4 C Parmesan cheese
1 C shredded cheese
Note: all amounts are approximate

My sections are cut and now it's time to add the filling.  I had my filling in the fridge so I took it out and placed it in the microwave for about 10 seconds to soften it up a bit.  I then placed the filling in a baggie, cut off one of the corners (my homemade pastry bag) and put a small amount of filling on every other triangle.  I then took a spatula and smoothed out the filling.

Once my filling was in place I took the empty triangle and placed it on top of the triangle next to it, the one that had the filling.  I did this until all triangles were paired up.

I then twisted each triangle pair about 3 times (next time I will twist them a few more to make them a little more thin).  I also made sure to twist the end pretty good so the filling would be sure to stay in.

Now that all of my triangles are twisted it's time to do some rolling.  I took one triangle, rolled it to the side (so it looks kind of like a flower) and placed it in the center where there were no cut marks.  I then continued around my dough circle and twisted each triangle section in, to resemble a flower, and placed them along the edge of my inner circle.  As you can see it now looks kind of like a flower...okay, maybe not to so many of you, but that's really the only way I could think of to describe it.

I then transferred it to a baking sheet that was covered with parchment paper and lightly dusted with cornmeal.  This step will take two people so your bread doesn't come unrolled.  My bread is now on my parchment paper, sprinkled with cheese and ready for it's 3rd and final rising.

We were in a bit of a hurry so I don't think my bread exactly doubled in size but it was good enough for me and everyone was getting hungry, grumpy and ready to head to the zoo.

My bread is now done baking and it turned out absolutely delicious!  We were so excited about it that we didn't take it to the zoo, we ate it right then and there.  My neighbor, who is a wonderful cook, said it was some of the best bread he has ever tasted in his life.  Now that's a fabulous compliment!!  Thanks for looking and as always, Happy Baking!

I have linked to these fun parties:



  1. Oh, wow! That looks so good! I love how you twisted it up! Thanks for linking up this week!


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