This bread reminds me a bit of the potato we used to make for a campfire or for those of you with an even fancier palette, Hasselback potatoes. The potatoes were sliced partially through and then cheese or onion slices—or both—were put in between those partial slices with butter.
They were wrapped in foil and thrown into the fire to cook. Of course, Hasselback potatoes don’t stuff the slices, but they both look similar when done. The garlic cheese bread will have that same stuffed appearance when you’re done.
You can make your own French bread or purchase a loaf you can simply pop in the oven. If you make your own, use a recipe that’s a bit sweeter, such as one containing honey. I make up several batches of bread dough and freeze it in loaves so it’s always ready.
You do have to use cake yeast and double the amount you use to compensate for the yeast that dies in the freezer. It lasts in the freezer for a month.
If you use frozen bread dough, let it thaw first. Form a French loaf, but twist it, so as it rises it stays just as long as you originally planned, otherwise it tends to pull together for a shorter fatter loaf. Bake it almost until done and remove from the oven to brush with melted herbed garlic butter.
You can purchase this at most stores or make it yourself. You just combine butter with minced garlic and any herbs you like; I love chives with mine or basil, then mix thoroughly. You can even freeze it and cut off whatever you want when you need it. Bake about seven minutes longer.
Let the bread cool a bit before you start on the next step, approximately 15 minutes. Cut one-inch slices that don’t go all the way through the bread, approximately 3/4ths of the way through it.
Brush the insides of the slice with more melted butter and stick a slice of your favorite cheese into it.
Return it to the oven for a few minutes to melt the cheese. I’ve often thought of wrapping the bread in foil and putting it on the grill for the final step to get that same smoky flavor I get from the potatoes, but let’s face it, it might not work well and it would be a horror to lose a loaf of this because of experimenting.
Make up two at a time because you’ll need it even if you have a small family. I justify my consumption of this delectable bread by using butter and cheese from grass-fed cows, making it a health food rather than an indulgence.
Garlic Cheese Bread
- 1 cup Warm Water
- 1 Tablespoon Honey
- 1 envelope Active Dry Yeast (2 1/4 Teaspoons)
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- 3 cups Bread Flour
- Olive Oil, For Greasing Surfaces
- ⅓ pounds Sharp White Cheddar, Or Any Other Cheese You Prefer
- ½ cups Garlic Butter
- In a large bowl, stir water, honey and yeast together. Let yeast proof 5 minutes. Once you know yeast is active, stir in salt and the flour in 1/4 cup increments. If you are using a stand mixer, be sure to not increase your speed higher than a 2 or ‘stir’. Once dough starts pulling away from the sides and the bowl seems to be pretty clean, set a timer for 5 minutes and walk away. Let the machine knead the dough. After 5 minutes, dough should be smooth and tacky but when touched shouldn’t leave any dough on your fingers.
- Grease the bowl and the dough. Cover with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and let rise 1 hour or until doubled in size.
- Punch down dough and cut into two equal portions. Form into two long baguettes the length of the cookie sheet. I like to twist mine because it looks cool, but it also keeps its length and doesn’t shrink. Cover with plastic wrap and rise 30 minutes. Start to preheat oven to 400 degrees F and place dough close to the oven where it’s nice and warm. Once oven is preheated, remove plastic wrap, from the dough reduce oven to 350F, put the bread into the oven and bake 20 minutes.
- In the meantime, slice the cheese into thin slices and melt the butter.
- Pull loaves of bread out of the oven after 20 minutes and brush with the melted garlic butter. Bake another 5-7 minutes or until bread begins to turn a golden brown. Remove from oven and cool 15 minutes.
- Cut 1-inch slices 3/4′s of the the way through the loaves. Brush garlic butter in between each slice and fill with a slice of cheese. Bake another 3-5 minutes or until cheese is completely melted.
- Serve immediately.