What do you do when it’s a day-off and but the sky is pouring miserably outside? Another stupid construction is going on 3 floors above you – ever so loudly, but the wet and cold Winter day discouraged you to leave the apartment. What to do?
I tapped on Flipboad on my new favorite ‘cookbook’, aka my iPad 2. By the way, for all iPad users out there, let me ask you this, have you started using “Flipboard” yet? If you haven’t, then you should. It’s a free app for iPad and iPhone, and you can literally integrate all your social media contents in just this one app, and go through it like you would a magazine. It’s so cool. And it’s free. And the Recipes section knocks my socks off.
Anyway, where was I? Right, rainy day blues, bla di bla di bloo… browsing through recipes. One of my favorite things to do when I just wake up in the morning is mindlessly flipping through the Flipboard Recipes section. In my mindless wandering, I came across a “Cheddar, beer and mustard pull-apart bread” at The Smitten Kitchen.
Two things caught my attention here: beer as an ingredient and the idea of pull-apart bread. I know beer is often used on some recipes (usually combining Guinness and beef for a beef stew), but I don’t often come across recipes using it as a softening agent. And I have that bottle of Hoppy sitting in my fridge for what seems like an eternity…
I also love the idea of a pull-apart bread with delicious toppings. I’ve often told myself that I must make some. This kind of bread is like a sandwich already stuffed with goodness. So you don’t need to worry about the accompaniments, you thought about it once and be done with it. Perfect for your lunch plan for the week or to bring to a picnic.
So, Deb from Smitten Kitchen, how have I never found her before is beyond me! Oh my gosh, I love that woman, and her vision for her cooking. Her recipes are very inspirational and forgiving. As I walk you through the step-by-step process I took in recreating her pull-apart bread, I will tell you what stupid mistakes I did and corrected as I go. You will be surprised that the mistakes didn’t seem to affect the end result. That speaks volumes about the solidness of her original recipe. Deb, (cooking) hats off to you!
Cheddar+Hoppy+Mustard Pull-Apart Rye Bread
Inspiration: The Smitten Kitchen
4 tbsp of unsalted butter
1/4 cup plus 1/2 cup of Hoppy (originally recipe called for a beer – any beer, preferrably dark – of which I had none, so I used the next best thing in the fridge… Hoppy!)
2 cups + 2/3 cups of whole wheat flour
1 tbsp vital wheat gluten
1/3 cup rye flour
2 tbsp brown sugar (can use granulated sugar, tho I don’t normally have it in the pantry)
2 1/4 tsp instant yeast
1 tsp sea salt (fine)
2 large eggs, room temperature
3 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 dashes of green tabasco (ran out of red!)
1 1/2 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp sea salt (fine)
Several grinds of blackpepper
2 cups shredded red cheddar
Making the bread dough
1. Heat butter and 1/4 cup of Hoppy until the butter melt in a small saucepan (that can fit about 500ml water). Remove from heat and add the 1/2 cup Hoppy. Let it cool down, because you don’t want it steaming hot (otherwise you will kill the yeast), around 45C/116F would be good.
2. In the stand mixer bowl (I use my KitchenAid), using the paddle attachment, stir 2 cups wholewheat flour, vital wheat gluten brown sugar, yeast and salt. Then with the mixer on low (KitchenAid 2), pour in the butter-Hoppy mix. Add eggs and mix until all combined. Add the remaining WW flour and all of the rye flour, mixing on KA 2 until combined.
3. Replace the paddle attachment with the dough hook and knead for 4 minutes on low (KitchenAid 2).
4. Spray/oil a large bowl and transfer the dough into it. Cover with plastic wrap (doesn’t need to be airtight) and let sit for 60 minutes, until double the size. For a warmer temperature, I heat the oven on the lowest heat setting (about 45C) and switched it off, then I put the bowl in the warmed temperature.
(Good to know: the first time I made this recipe, I screw up two things (1) used the dough hook from the very beginning and (2) completely forgot to add eggs. I corrected it after I finished step 3 by changing the attachment from dough hook to paddle, mix the eggs until combined and then changed back to the dough hook re-kneaded the bread for another 3 minutes. This seems to do the tricks!)
Making the fillings
5. Back in the same saucepan you used in step 1 above, melt butter. Remove from heat and whisk in the Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce and tabasco until smooth. Set aside.
6. Take another medium bowl, mix chilli powder, salt and black pepper. Toss cheddar cheese until all strands are sort of evenly coated with spices. Keep this in a cool place until you need to use it, otherwise it will go soft and clumpy.
Assembling the bread
7. Coat a loaf pan (9×5 inches/ 23×13 cm) with butter spray and put aside.
8. Turn dough out onto a well-floured counter, safe the plastic wrap for Step 14. Roll the dough into 50×30 cm rectangle. Make sure your counter is really well-floured, otherwise you will have difficulties lifting the dough latter on.
9. Brush the dough with the mustard-butter mixing you made in Step 5.
10. Cut the dough crosswise into 5 even strips (10×30 cm each)
11. Sprinkle one strip with 1/5 portion of the cheese mix (you made in Step 6), then place another strip on top of it and sprinkle with another 1/5 portion, and so on, until they are stacked up and sprinkled.
12. With a very sharp knife, cut your stack into 5 segments (6x10cm stacks). (Note: Deb’s recipe said 6-7 segments, but I kinda did the calculation wrong and somehow it just worked out with 5 equal segments)
13. Arrange the dough stacks on the prepared loaf pan like you’re stacking business cards. If you decided to follow my cut and ended up with only 5 stacks, you will find there is a little bit of extra room in the pan, that’s OK, just shake the loaf pan gently so the dough will be right in the center. When it goes through the final rise, it will expand and puff following the shape of the loaf pan.
14. Cover the pan using the plastic cover you saved at Step 8. Set it aside to rise for 30-45 minutes (in the warmed up oven as described in Step 4).
15a.* If you have multiple ovens and can use one to sit the dough in. This will be when I say preheat your other oven to 170C/350F.
15b. **If you’re like me and only have the electric oven/microwave in the one same device, then I would say take the loaf out of the oven after 30 minutes, set it on the counter, THEN preheat your oven now to 170C. If you have a ***baking stone, put that in the oven while preheating.
16. Bake loaf for 30-35 minutes (***if using, put the loaf pan right on top of the baking stone), until puffed and brown and crusty.
17. Remove from oven and transfer to a wire rack, let cool for 5 minutes.
18. Flip out onto a serving plate. Serve warm.
19. If there is any leftover, keep in plastic/zip loc at room temperature. You can reheat in an oven (best result) or microwave (quick but not best).
20. Enjoy! (With a cold beverage of your choosing, probably some Hoppy? 🙂 )