Great bread is a welcome guest at breakfast, lunch or dinner. Used at breakfast to dip toasted corners into the yolk of an egg, as the handy housing for your sandwich, or as a vehicle for sauce mopping with dinner, bread is something most of us eat every day. Today, grocery stores everywhere stock freshly baked and delivered breads from nearby artisan bakeries. The bread I remember fondly when I was growing up, though, came in a red, white and blue plastic wrapper from Franz. My mom would drive to the outlet store near the Franz bakery on 11th and Flanders in Portland to buy packages of bread and buns that were always available in our garage freezer. If you were fortunate enough to be near the bakery when the bread was baking, the heavenly aroma would perfume the air for blocks. The smell made you long for a warm slice of freshly baked bread with melted butter and jam—in my opinion, still one of life’s greatest pleasures.
Bread remains one of the oldest prepared foods. True artisans have a feel for everything that goes into the finished loaves. They know what water temperature is just right for the yeast to bloom, when ample kneading has made the dough its perfect consistency and in what environment the bread will bake best. The texture and flavor of your favorite baguette and that chewy ciabatta bread come from years of baking experience. Though, if you have the time and patience, why not try it yourself? Just take your time, use fresh, quality ingredients and make sure to check the expiration date on that package of yeast. Remember, getting it right can be just like getting to Carnegie Hall—practice, practice, practice.
The ingredients for this cheesy bread go together in a snap. I use two of my favorite cheeses, Tillamook cheddar and Tumalo Farms Fenacho together with diced Spanish chorizo, sunflower and poppy seeds to make this quick and delicious savory bread that would be great alongside a steamy bowl of soup or hearty stew. The dough is mixed in one bowl and then left for a short rise right in the pan it is baked in.
Savory Chorizo Cheese Bread
Makes one 8-inch roll
1/3 cup whole milk
1/3 cup water
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 envelope active dry yeast
1 ¾ cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 ¼ cups grated Tillamook cheddar cheese
½ cup grated Tumalo Farms Fenacho
1 cup finely chopped Spanish chorizo
2 green onions, finely chopped
2 tablespoons sunflower seeds
1 teaspoon poppy seeds
Heat milk, water and butter in a small saucepan until warm (100 to 110 degrees). Pour into work bowl of standing mixer and add yeast. Stir and let rest for five minutes. The mixture will not foam very much, but if your yeast is fresh and the water is not too hot, it’s still OK. Beat in eggs one at a time.
Combine flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. Add to liquid mixture and beat on slow speed for two minutes. Combine cheddar cheese, Fenacho cheese, chorizo and green onions in a bowl. Reserve one third of the mixture in another bowl. Stir remaining cheese mixture into batter. Pour into greased 8-inch round cake pan. Sprinkle with poppy seeds and sunflower seeds. Cover with large bowl and let rise until doubled, 40-50 minutes. Bake bread in preheated 375°F degree oven for twenty minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle remaining cheese mixture over bread. Return to oven and bake additional five to 10 minutes until well browned. Serve warm.