Sunday, July 17, 2011

Cheddar-Sriracha Swirl Bread

I think, if you have been reading my blog for long enough, you are well-aware of our love for Sriracha sauce. Some call it "rooster sauce" because it comes in the little bottle with a rooster printed on it. We love it. We use it in huge quantities. I see some people try a little dab and say "Oh my gosh, it's so spicy!" and then I see us, pouring it on the bibimbap like it's nothing ("if the rice isn't red, there isn't enough sriracha").

When I saw this recipe posted on Epicurious, I noticed that it was from a Sriracha cookbook. So I bought it. Obviously.

I made this bread, but I crapped out. I am so ashamed to say I did not make the bread from scratch, I just used pre-made pizza dough like it suggests at the end of the recipe. And I don't think anyone will be shocked to hear it was kind of disappointing. I would hope that it was because I took the easy way, but I don't know. If you try it from scratch, let me know!


Cheddar-Sriracha Swirl Bread
The Sriracha Cookbook by Randy Clemens

If you're looking for the answers to your sandwich prayers, I assure you this is it. Okay, so it's probably not a great combo for your PB&J, but your panini will definitely make a quantum leap up the yum scale from delicious to ridiculous.

1 3/4 cups whole milk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter -- at room temperature
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 ounce instant dry yeast
4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour -- plus more for kneading
Vegetable oil or nonstick cooking spray -- as needed
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 cup Sriracha
1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese -- (4 ounces)

1. In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, warm the milk, butter, and sugar, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat as soon as the butter melts. The liquid should be lukewarm to the touch, around 100°F. Allow it to cool to that temperature if necessary. Sprinkle the yeast over the milk mixture and let sit for 10 minutes to proof. After about 10 minutes, there should be a layer of froth on the surface of the mixture, which signifies that the yeast is viable and ready to sacrifice its own life in the name of good bread.

2. In a large bowl, mix together the flour and salt. Pour the milk and yeast mixture into the bowl of flour and mix with a wooden spoon until a soft, ragged mixture is formed. Transfer the dough to a well-floured work surface and knead for 1 minute. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a kitchen towel, and allow it to rest, undisturbed for 20 minutes.

3. After its rest, turn the dough back out onto the well-floured work surface and knead until a soft, elastic dough results, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer the dough once more to the lightly oiled bowl, cover, and allow it to rest in a warm area of the house until doubled in size, about 2 hours.

4. Transfer the dough to the work surface and, using your hands, gently flatten into a 9-inch-wide rectangle. Spread the Sriracha over the dough, leaving a 1-inch border around the outside edges free of Sriracha. Sprinkle the cheese evenly over the Sriracha, respecting the same border. It is this border that allows the dough to seal properly in the next step.

5. Roll the dough up tightly, lengthwise, similar to making a jelly roll. Press down on the last roll to seal and make a seam. Lightly oil a 9 by 5-inch loaf pan. Put the dough, seam side down, into the pan. Cover and return to the warm spot until the dough has again doubled in size and is cresting over the top of the pan, 2 to 2 1/2 hours.

6. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Just before baking, make a 1/4-inch-deep slit down the center of the loaf using a serrated knife. Place the loaf pan on the center rack of the oven. Spray the inside walls of the oven and the top of the loaf with a generous misting of water to create steam. Quickly close the oven door and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the loaf from the pan and continue baking for an additional 10 to 15 minutes. The center of the loaf should register 190°F on a thermometer and the bottom of the loaf should sound hollow when tapped. Let the bread cool completely on a cooling rack before slicing for best results. Store refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

7. In a Pinch: Use a 1-pound ball of fresh pizza dough or defrosted frozen pizza dough, available at some specialty supermarkets and friendly neighborhood pizzerias. Allow the dough to come to room temperature and flatten the dough into the 9-inch-wide rectangle, proceeding as directed with Sriracha and cheese, allowing the dough to rise and then baking as directed.

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