Oh the weather outside is frightful but the fire (or heating) is so delightful…
Gosh, winter is ACTUALLY coming and I don’t mean that as some sort of Game of Thrones reference, however I wish that show was coming back soon cause I misses it!
I actually wish that winter would hold off for one sec because I would like to avoid driving through a winter storm on my way home. As it is driving home for Thanksgiving is ALWAYS the worst in terms of traffic so yeah, why not add some fun winter weather to the mix?
I am sure glad that this year we decided to bring the pups and the cat with us so that means we’ll have at the least an enjoyable car ride. I shouldn’t really get that excited since the cat generally falls asleep within 20 minutes and the dog just wonders when we’ll get there so he can go frolic in the wilderness at my parents house.
I think the hubby and I are becoming those people. You know, the ones who don’t have children yet so they cart their pets around as though they are children, insisting that they must bring them for every holiday and family gathering. This year I have been thinking about dressing them up in holiday clothing and taking a family picture for the holiday card…did you just judge me? I judged me a little.
So, to prepare for the holiday season I spent the entire day on Sunday in the kitchen. I managed to bake this delicious bread as well as some very holiday inspired cookies and because you can’t just eat bread and cookies (according to some people) I went ahead and made some quick chili.
I am going to get real for a second. Making bread can be kind of intimidating. It’s one of those things where you have to mix your batter, walk away and pray it does what it is supposed to do. I find myself fearing the worst and coming back to a bowl of some weird science project gone wrong. Thankfully, I have not yet had a bread disaster so maybe that means my fears are unwarranted. Oh boy, did I just jinx myself?!
This recipe was pulled from the Hollymead collection and to be honest I am thinking this bread needs to be in my life always. I imagine that grandma made this for the inn and maybe even used it for sandwiches or snack trays. I think this would be amazing for grilled cheese. It went perfectly with the chili but seriously I could just eat this by itself. You can try switching the cheddar out for some other cheese as well.
Yields 2 Loaves
7-8 Cups unsifted all-purpose flour
1/3 Cup Sugar
1 Tbsp. Salt
2 Pkgs. Dry Yeast
2 Cups Water
2/3 Cup Milk
3 Cups Fresh Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese
In a large bowl combine 2-1/2 Cups flour, sugar, salt and dry yeast. Mix all dry ingredients together and set aside. In a small saucepan add your water and milk and heat on medium-low heat until it reaches a temperature of 120-130 degrees. Gradually add your milk/water to your dry ingredients, mixing as you go. Mix the flour and water mixture together until everything has been incorporated. Add your cheese and an additional 1/2 cup of flour. Beat at a high-speed, scraping the bowl occasionally. Continue to add flour 1/2 cup at a time until a stiff dough is formed. Once formed turn your dough out onto a floured surface and knead until the dough becomes smooth and elastic (about 8-10 minutes). Place your dough in a greased bowl, cover and set aside in a warm place to rise.
Allow your dough to rise for an hour until it has doubled in size. Punch your dough down and turn out on to a cutting board. Cover the dough and allow it to rest for 15 minutes. Divide the dough in half and form each half into a loaf shape. Place your loaves in your greased bread pans (9 x 5 x 3), cover and place in a warm spot where they can rise for an additional hour.
While your dough is rising, preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Bake your bread on the lowest rack position for 40 minutes or until your bread has evenly browned. Remove your loaves from the oven and allow them to cool on wire racks. While cooling brush the tops with melted butter.