Chive and Fontina Challah Bread

Oh it’s been so long since I have posted a blog entry!  Ricky left the battery to his nice camera on a guy’s golf weekend and we just received it back this week.  Needless to say, I’ve been cooking up a storm since I’ve recently had a small break from culinary classes but: a) my dinky camera seems to take horrible pictures after using a “professional” camera and b) I’m enjoying not being gone from 5 something in the morning til 9 something at night so I’m being lazy!  But I decided I need to stop being selfish and share the passion I have for cooking with everyone else.  After my first semester in culinary school  in which I took Baking, I have become a big fan of challah bread!  I would eat a full dinner of freshly made challah bread with butter fresh out of the oven and could not be happier.  So when I found this recipe for fontina and chive challah I thought I had died and gone to heaven (did I mention I love fontina cheese!).  I hope you enjoy this and hopefully you will receive many more recipes to come!

Chive and Cheese Challah

adapted from cookinglight.com

  • 1  cup  warm 2% reduced-fat milk (100° to 110°)
  • 1  teaspoon  sugar
  • 1  package dry yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
  • 3  tablespoons  butter, melted
  • 1 1/2  teaspoons  salt
  • 5  large egg yolks
  • 3  large eggs
  • 3/4  cup  (3 ounces) shredded aged fontina cheese
  • 1/2  cup  finely chopped fresh chives
  • 10.7  ounces  bread flour (about 2 1/4 cups)
  • 13.5  ounces  all-purpose flour, divided (about 3 cups)
  • Cooking spray
  • 1  large egg
  • 2  tablespoons  water
  • 2  tablespoons  grated fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Combine first 3 ingredients in a large bowl; let stand 5 minutes or until bubbly. Stir in butter, salt, 5 egg yolks, and 3 eggs. Stir in fontina and chives. Weigh or lightly spoon flours into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Add 10.7 ounces bread flour (about 2 1/4 cups) and 12.4 ounces (about 2 3/4 cups) all-purpose flour to yeast mixture, stirring until a soft dough forms (dough will be sticky).

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic, adding remaining 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hands. Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, for 45 minutes or until doubled in size. Punch down dough; cover and let rise 50 minutes or until doubled in size. (Gently press two fingers into dough. If indentation remains, dough has risen enough.)

Divide dough into 6 equal portions. Roll each portion into a ball. Roll each ball into a rope about 15 inches long. Place 3 ropes parallel to one another; braid ropes. Pinch ends together, and tuck under loaf. Repeat procedure with remaining 3 ropes. Place loaves on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper; coat with cooking spray. Cover and let rise 30 minutes or until doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 375°.

Combine 1 egg and 2 tablespoons water, stirring well with a whisk. Brush loaves gently with egg mixture. Sprinkle loaves evenly with Parmigiano-Reggiano. Bake at 375° for 25 minutes or until golden. Remove from baking sheet; cool on a wire rack.

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