Swiss Cheese Braid

Swiss Cheese Braid

A Recipe from Bake-Off Cook Book from Pillsbury 100 prize winning recipes from the 22nd Bake Off (1971)

About the Recipe

Wow oh wow were these loaves a hit! The beer combined with an abundance of yeast made what sounds like a heavy recipe, in actuality light, fluffy loaves of bread.

A few quick notes on some changes that I made that seemed to work well:

  • I used my KitchenAid mixer to do 90% of the mixing. I used the regular beater for the initial mix of the yeast into the first two cups of flour, than switched to the dough hook on the “Stir” setting while I added the additional flour. Once the dough was fairly set, I did a minute or so by hand to check the elasticity and texture of the dough.
  • I have a new obsession with Everything Bagel seasoning, and I just can’t resist the urge to throw it on a loaf of bread, especially when there are 2 loaves to play with. That said – go with a sprinkle, not a heaping like I did and the loaf won’t pull apart quite so much during the bake.
  • I used Guinness beer, which comes in 11.4 oz. bottles and made up the rest of the liquid volume with water, which worked fine.
  • The only processed cheese I could find at the store was American, sliced, from the deli… which also worked fine, but I can’t help but wonder how a processed Swiss or Velveeta would have worked in this recipe.

For more recipes in the Pillsbury Challenge, click here!

About the book

I hate to say it, but there’s nothing spectacularly interesting about this book. It’s a good book with several recipes that look to be easy to create, but nothing out of the ordinary. It’s almost like the editors were in the process of puzzling about what comes next. And the next book is notable indeed…

About the glassware

I can’t tell you how I ended up with two loaf pans with green patterns on it, but there you are! The Spring Blossom was a gift from my father, and the Meadow Green came from a flea market. They’re wonderful pans, and always come perfectly clean.

The Recipe!

Ingredients:

1 can (12 oz.) beer or 1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup warm water
2 T sugar
1 T salt
2 T butter or margarine
1 package (8 oz.) pasteurized process Swiss or American cheese, not natural cheese
5 cups flour
2 packages active dry yeast

Directions:

Generously grease bottom and sides of two 9×5-inch loaf pans.

In large saucepan, warm beer, water, sugar, salt, butter and cheese. (Cheese does not need to melt completely.) Cool to lukewarm (~220*F).

In large mixer bowl, combine 2 cups flour with yeast; add warm (not hot) cheese mixture. Beat 3 minutes at medium speed. By hand, gradually stir in remaining 3 cups flour to make a fairly stiff dough.

Knead on lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Place in greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover; let rise in warm place until light and doubled in size, 45-60 minutes.

Punch down dough; divide in half and shape into two 11×5-inch rectangles. Cut each rectangle into 3 long strips, leaving strips joined at one end. Braid; place in prepared pans. Cover; let rise in warm place until light and doubled in size, 45-60 minutes.

Bake at 350* for 40 to 45 minutes until deep golden brown and loaf sounds hollow when lightly tapped. Remove from pan immediately; cool completely.

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