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Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Mozzarella Basil Bread

Mozzarella Basil Bread
This recipe makes two generous loaves of delicious bread. I had intended to bring the second loaf to my parents as a thank you for watching Miss F while I hosted my dinner party. My dinner party guests had different plans. We ate the entire first loaf and it was onto the next. It was so good. And incredibly easy to make. In this past year with C being gone, I have been able to bake bread quite often and I have really enjoyed exploring the yeast world beyond my bread machine.  And you can never go wrong with adding any cheese to bread.  Delicious!  I promise to make it again and send a the second loaf to my parents.
Mozzarella Basil Bread

2 cups warm water
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon yeast
1 tablespoon salt
5 cups bread flour, or as needed
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
¼ cup milk
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 tablespoon melted butter

Mix warm water with sugar in the bowl of the stand mixer fitted with the paddle until the sugar has dissolved. Sprinkle yeast over the surface of the water, and let stand until the yeast begins to form a creamy layer on the water. Stir the yeast into the water. Stir in salt, and 1 cup of bread flour, and beat the flour in to form a loose batter. Stir in 1 more cup of flour, and mix in the mozzarella cheese, milk, and basil. Mix in the remaining 3 cups of flour in ½ cup additions. Swap the paddle for the dough hook and knead for 6 minutes. Form into a ball, coat with olive oil, cover and allow to rise for one hour.

Punch down the dough and turn out onto a well-floured work surface, and knead the dough just long enough to eliminate the remaining bubbles in the dough, about 1 minute. Cut the dough into 2 equal pieces, and form each half into a round ball. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray, and place the balls onto the baking sheet. With a sharp knife, slash an X into the top of each loaf. Cover the loaves with a towel, and let rise until doubled, about 25 minutes. Brush each loaf with the melted butter.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Bake the loaves until browned, about 25 minutes. To serve, cut each loaf into 8 wedges.
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