Sunday, March 22, 2015

Alfredo Bread

My grandmother used to always make homemade bread.  Since I only eat plain bread when making sandwiches, homemade bread seems hardly worth the effort. Yet my attitude changes when I start considering making a more flavorful loaf such as this one.

This bread does have the added flavor of Alfredo sauce, Parmesan cheese, basil and parsley.  It is perfect for an Italian dinner and a nice change from garlic bread.  As you can see from the picture above, there is lots of cheesy goodness in this loaf.  I found it hard to hold off until dinner.  As it baked, it did release an ethereal scent throughout the house.  I got very hungry and impatient for it to finish baking. In addition, letting the loaf cool was even harder.

The next time you are in the mood to make bread, you may want to try this one.  There are only 2 sessions of rising time, totaling 1 1/2 hrs.  Forming the bread is basically the same method as a jelly roll, so it comes together pretty easily. This recipe makes two 9x5 loaves.

Alfredo Bread
adapted from Fleishmanns Yeast

1/4 cup Alfredo sauce
2 1/4 cup milk
2 tbs softened butter
3 tbs sugar
2 packets yeast (original, not rapid rise)
5-6 cups bread flour
1 tbs dried parsley
1 tsp dried basil
2 tsp salt
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Fill a saucepan with the milk and place over medium heat. Let heat up to a temperature of 100-110 degrees. Remove from heat.  Stir in sugar and yeast. Set aside until the surface becomes foamy.  This should take about 5-10 minutes.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the salt and 2 cups of flour.  Pour in the yeast mixture and add the butter.  Mix with beater blade until evenly distributed.  Continue to add the flour in 1 cup increments, mixing after each addition.  It should reach a soft dough stage once the 5th cup of flour has been blended in.

Take a medium size bowl and oil the interior and set aside.  The next step is kneading the dough.  If using a mixer with a dough hook, run your mixer on medium low speed for 4-5 minutes, adding flour a little at a time if needed. In order to do this step by hand, start by dusting a flat surface with flour. Place the dough on the surface and knead by hand for about 8-10 minutes.

Form dough into a ball and place it in prepared bowl.  Flip over to make sure surface is covered with oil.  Cover bowl lightly and set in a warm place to rise until doubled.  This should take about an hour.  During the rise time, prepare two 9x5 inch loaf pans by greasing the interior and set aside.

After the first rise is completed, remove the dough and punch down.  Place it back on the flat, floured surface and cut in half.  Put one half back in the bowl and keep the other half on the surface.  Roll out the half into a rectangle measuring 9x18.  Spread 2 tablespoons of Alfredo sauce on the surface of the rectangle.  Then sprinkle the dough with 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese.  Follow that with a sprinkle of 1 1/2 tsp of dried parsley and then 1/2 tsp dried basil.

Starting with the short end, roll dough tightly into a cylinder, tugging the dough slightly after each turn. Pinch the end with the under lapping part of the dough and tuck in the short ends, pinching the same way.  Place the loaf seam sides down in the prepared pan.  Lightly cover this loaf and then prepare the second piece of dough the same way.  Let both loaves rise for another 30-40 minutes.  At the halfway point, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Once the loaves have completed the rise, place in oven and bake until golden brown on top.  Bake time is about 30-40 minutes.  Loaves are done when hollow sound is made when tapping on top.  Place pans on rack to cool for about 10-15 minutes then invert on rack.  Invert again so loaves are in upright position.  Let cool completely before slicing.

Tips and Notes:

1.  Do not worry that there is not a border left when topping the dough.  My loaves did not split at the seams when baked, so the dough border is not required.

2.  Do not pack in more toppings than noted, unless you want to form this into a pull apart bread rather than swirled loaves.  Pull apart bread is an idea, but the layers will present a problem with the alfredo/cheese filling sticking to the pan.  The cheese will form a crust on the pan that will be hard to clean. 
                                     **LAST YEAR: Lemon Tartlets***