One of the joys of blogging is discovering events that test your limits and move you out of your comfort zone. One such event is the monthly Bread Baking Day, hosted this month by Temperance at High on the Hog. Her request was simple - bake a bread that is made with or served with cheese. I resisted the temptation to do a pizza. I love pizza but I wanted to expand my repertoire and do something really new. My search led me to a remarkable German bread that is made with and topped with Muenster cheese. The bread has a remarkable crumb, gorgeous color and a soft, yet crunchy, crust that is not to be believed. The bread stays fresh for several days but that gorgeous crust is best the day the bread is made. You'll need no special equipment to make these loaves but you might want to consider cutting the recipe in half as it produces two huge - monster Muenster - loaves. This bread was originally made with a German Munster which is much sharper than the American Muenster cheese used here. I've tried it both ways and prefer the milder Muenster. I do hope you'll try this bread - it is really, really good. I'm also sending this on to Susan at Yeast Spotting.
Muenster Cheese Bread
6-1/2 to 7-1/2 cups flour, unsifted
5 teaspoons active dry yeast
1-1/2 teaspoons sugar
4 teaspoons salt
1 cup plain yogurt
2-1/2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup water
6 eggs, room temperature
3/4 pound Muenster cheese, shredded
1 tablespoon milk
1) Combine 1-1/2 cups flour, yeast, sugar, and salt in the bowl of an electric stand mixer. Combine yogurt, butter and water in a microwavable bowl. Cook on HIGH power until butter melts, about 1 minute. Cool slightly. Slowly add to dry ingredients; beat for 2 minutes at medium speed. Add 6 eggs, 1/2 cup cheese and 1 cup flour; beat for 2 minutes at high speed. Add as much flour as needed to make a stiff dough (I used a total of 6-1/2 cups flour). Turn onto a floured surface and knead until dough is smooth and elastic, about 8 to 10 minutes.
2) Place dough into a greased bowl, turning it once to grease top. Cover; let rise until double in bulk, about 1 hour. Punch dough down; divide into two equal pieces. Pat dough to form round loaves. Place on greased baking sheets; cover, let rise until double in bulk, about 1 hour. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Beat remaining egg with milk; brush over loaves. Top with remaining cheese. Bake until loaves are golden, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on wire racks. Yield: 2 loaves
Recipe from The New York Times Bread and Soup Cookbook by Yvonne Young Tarr