Be warned… if you let melted cheese get onto your cloche base, you will pay for that sin every time you bake. Becca and Tynan (my eldest son) both love this bread, but everyone HATES when I make it. “The house smells like ass.” That is an actual quote from my 14-year old son, Sawyer.
So, I’ve tried a couple different methods of baking cheese breads. My Mom, for example, would separate the cheese and put some of it in the dough while it was mixing and then add the rest after the first rise. I find that the dough comes out lighter and fluffier when I don’t add cheese to it. So, for a while, I started cubing my cheese. The image below shows this recipe being made with cubed cheese…
The cubes work great for cheddar breads, but Asiago is a bit harder and doesn’t melt throughout the dough like cheddar does. So, the harder the cheese, the smaller the bits. That rule is pretty standard in my book. Well, I haven’t actually written a book. Yet. But I’ve been thinking about it.
The picture above will help make instruction #11 in the recipe make sense. Some of the cheese doesn’t want to embrace a fate involving being baked into a loaf of bread. Honestly, I can understand that. But such insolence must be addressed. I typically resort to eating the offending cheese. That teaches ’em right good.
Oh my. Look at this.
Bread is magic. Garlic is magic. Put them together and you have super powers. Add cheese and you are invincible as well. I don’t dabble in hyperbole. This is serious stuff.
Roasted Garlic Asiago Cheese Bread
Bread is magic. Garlic is magic. Put them together and you have super powers. Add cheese and you are invincible as well. I don't dabble in hyperbole. This is serious stuff.
- 1 scant tablespoon (or one ¼-ounce package) active dry yeast
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- ¼ cup warm water about 110 degrees
- 1½ cup warm water about 110 degrees
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 head of garlic
- 1 wedge of Asiago cheese 8 ounces or so
- 4½-5 cups unbleached flour
Note: this recipe uses a bread cloche.
In a small bowl, stir yeast and sugar into ¼ cup water to soften.
Combine flour and salt in a large bowl.
Add the yeast mixture and the rest of the water. Mix well adding more flour or water as necessary. Dough should be firm enough to keep a boule shape.
Turn dough out onto a floured work surface. Knead until you have a smooth, elastic dough.
Dust the dough with flour and place in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled, about one hour.
To roast the garlic, find your favorite method on the interwebs and get busy. Or, if you are like me - who likes sautéed garlic just as well as roasted - unwrap that amazing little gift of garlic, separate the cloves, get the skins off and dice them all up. I use my small food processor for this. Put them in a small pan with a dash of olive oil and sauté until nice and brown. Set aside to cool.
Grate the Asiago cheese with the big holes in your grater. I ran my wedge through the same food processor I used for the garlic.
Punch the dough down, remove from the bowl, and flatten it out to about the size of a large pizza.
Sprinkle/rub the garlic evenly across the dough. Do the same with the cheese.
Roll up the dough and knead a few times to marble the garlic and cheese throughout. Some of the cheese may try to escape while kneading. It is okay to eat these mutinous bits.
Place the dough in a well-floured proofing basket, cover with the cloche lid or tightly woven towel and let rise until almost doubled, about 45 minutes.
About 30 minutes before baking, place the cloche in the oven and preheat to 450 degrees.
When ready to bake, sprinkle the cloche base with corn meal or semolina flour (lately, I've been cutting a round of parchment which works quite nicely for cheese breads. Keeps the cheese from melting onto your cloche base). Gently turn the dough onto the cloche base and score the top of the loaf in fancy patterns with a sharp knife. Little secret: you can actually slash it randomly - even try to make it look ugly - and it will still come out looking awesome.
Cover the cloche base with the lid and place it in the oven. Bake for 15 minutes and then turn the temperature down to 400 degrees. Bake for 30 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.
Remove the cloche lid for the last 5-10 minutes of baking. The internal temperature of the loaf should be about 190 degrees. Immediately remove bread from the cloche base and cool on a rack.