February 27, 2008

Chili Masa Cheddar Cheese Bread

This was a bread I wanted to try because I thought my husband would particularly enjoy it ... he enjoys things with a bit of heat. The red pepper flakes in this recipe add more visual appeal than heat, but the end result is a flavorful bread.

Note: I had a jalapeño cheddar cheese on hand that I used. I'm sure regular cheddar would be equally tasty, but I couldn't resist fitting the theme of the bread.

Chili Masa Cheddar Cheese Bread
1 1/3 cups water
2 tsp. rapid-rising or active dry yeast
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
3 Tbsp. corn oil (vegetable oil can be substituted)
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 cup masa harina
3 cups bread flour
3/4 cup toasted pepitas
1/2 cup diced Cheddar cheese

Heat the water until warm, between 105ºF and 115ºF. Pour into warmed mixing bowl, and add yeast. Let stand 5 minutes.

Add lemon juice, oil, salt, sugar, pepper flakes and masa harina. Beat well. Cover, and let stand 15 minutes.

Slowly add bread flour, and beat until a smooth dough forms. Knead the dough until soft and springy but soft to the touch. Gently knead in pepitas and cheese. Remove the dough hook, cover the bowl and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.

Lightly grease a baking sheet. Turn dough onto lightly greased or floured surface, and punch dough down. Shape into 2 to 3 round loaves. Place the loaves, seam side down, on greased baking sheet. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375
ºF. Glaze loaves with egg white and water mixture. Bake 25 to 35 minutes, until golden. Remove from baking sheet, and cool on wire rack.

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