As the name of my blog indicates, I spend a lot of time thinking about home. Of course, my Heavenly Home is the one that is eternal, so that’s where I need to lay up my treasures, and that’s the one I’m striving for. But in the meantime, I have been given this tiny piece of the here-and-now—this home on the edge of town, this family, this neighborhood—in which to serve Him. And, though this is in the earthly realm, I want the things that happen here to be investments in the Heavenly realm.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Bread On Tuesday ~ Week 3 {Three-Cheese Bread}

Are you a fan of Panera Bread's yummy artisan loaves?  I have never met one I didn't like.

This week's bread recipe is from The Panera Bread Cookbook: Breadmaking Essentials and Recipes from America's Favorite Bakery-Cafe.  Ron surprised me with this book for my birthday (in August) because he knew that I was planning on featuring bread in my winter recipe series. Isn't he a good bloggy husband?

While tempted to cut to the chase and head straight for the recipes, I wanted to get the most from the book and improve my breadmaking skills.  It was helpful to read Part One of the book, "Bread Baking 101: Building Your Knowledge of Bread."  The process was discussed from beginning to mouthwatering end: the key ingredients, the factors that affect fermentation, the six steps of the breadmaking "formula", and the scientific principles that are at work.   

After reading the how-to's, I selected this Three-Cheese Bread (how can anything with three cheeses not be good?) to put my new-found knowledge to the test.  We willingly taste-tested one loaf (and whisked the other off to the freezer to save for some very special guests we're having this week).  We declared this first effort a success as we enjoyed a cheesy bread with a crusty outside and a light inside.

(Makes 2 loaves)

Ingredients for Starter*:
1 cup warm water (95-105° F)
2 teaspoons fresh yeast
1 cup all-purpose flour

Ingredients for Dough:
3/4 cup warm water (95-105° F)
3 tablespoons honey
4 teaspoons fresh yeast
1/4 cup plus one teaspoon vegetable shortening
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 cup 1/2-inch cubes Romano cheese
1/2 cup 1/2-inch cubes Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup 1/2-inch cubes Asiago cheese
Starter (above)

To create the starter*, combine the water and yeast in a medium mixing bowl.  Stir to dissolve the yeast fully.  Add the flour to the bowl and stir until the ingredients are fully incorporated.  Cover with a clean cloth and ferment the starter at room temperature for 30 minutes.  

For the dough, combine the water, honey, and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer.  Stir to dissolve the yeast fully.  Add the shortening, flour, salt, cheeses, and fermented starter.  Mix on low speed until the dough is fully developed**.  Remove the dough from the mixing bowl.

Divide the dough into two pieces weighing about 22 ounces*** each.  Set aside any remaining dough and freeze for future use.  Roll each piece of dough into a smooth ball.  Place the dough on the counter or in a proofing basket and cover with a warm damp cloth, and proof at room temperature for 30 minutes.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Form the dough into two loaves, cover with a warm, damp cloth, and proof at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Score the knives with a sharp knife, spray with water, and bake for 30 minutes, or until the crusts are a deep, golden brown and the middle of the loaves is 190-200° F.  

Remove the bread from the oven and place on a cooling rack for 30 minutes.  If the bread was baked in loaf pans, remove the bread from the pans before cooling.

~ ~ ~

*  The author(s) insists that the starter is a key element in both the flavor and the texture of your bread.  Don't omit this step. 

** According to the author(s), two things indicate that a dough is "fully developed."   One indication is that it pulls away from the sides of the mixer.  Secondly, a small pinch of dough should not tear, but form a translucent membrane when stretched with your fingers.  

*** I did not have a way of measuring 22 ounces of dough.  I hoped for the best and simply divided my dough into two pieces.

 And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, 
and breaking bread from house to house
did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart...
Acts 2: 46, 47


  1. I love baking bread but don't do it as much anymore. I remember a swiss cheese recipe I used to make that was delicious toasted. I have to teach bread baking to our mentor group in a couple of months; I probably should do some research so I can teach them the science part of it all! Your bread looks yummy!

  2. Can't wait to try this.

    I love learning more about baking and trying new recipes!


  3. I am bookmarking this recipe, Thanks for sharing.

  4. Your guests will love the bread! I found your discussion of the particulars or the science behind breadmaking very interesting. I love baking bread. I don't do it very often because I might just as well glue a loaf to my hips.

  5. I am with Vee on me baking bread, I need to have an occasion where I am entertaining or invited to dinner. I love their cheese bread at the store. I will save this recipe for another time. xo

  6. Um... 3 cheeses? Yummy! I'm going to have to come back to visit these recipes for my indulge days.
    And, yes, Ron is a good bloggy husband!


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