beer-cheese bread

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category: [bread]

12 oz beer
1/2 cup hot water (120-130F)
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp salt
2 tbsp butter or margarine
8 oz processed swiss or american cheese
5 cups bread or all-purpose flour
2 pkgs dry yeast
8 oz natural swiss cheese, cut into 1/4" cubes

2 medium (8" x 4") loaf pans, greased or teflon

In a large saucepan combine the beer, hot water, sugar, salt, butter, and processed cheese and heat until hot. The cheese need not melt completely. Lift off the heat and cool to warm.

In a large mixing bowl put 2 cups flour and the yeast. Pour in the warm cheese mixture and beat by hand with a wooden spoon 100 strong strokes. Stir in rest of flour, 1/2 cup at a time, first with spoon and then by hand. The dough will be a rough, shaggy mass that will clean the sides of the bowl. If the dough continues to be slack and moisture breaks through, add small amounts of flour.

Turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and spread the swiss cheese bits over it. Fold the dough over on the cheese and knead with the rhythmic motion of push-turn-fold. The dough will become smooth and elastic, and bubbles will form under the surface of the dough. Break the kneading rhythm occasionally by throwing the dough down hard against the work surface.

Place the dough in a buttered bowl and turn over to coat the ball completely to prevent crusting. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature until dough has risen to about twice its original size, about 1 hour.

Punch down and knead the dough for 30 seconds to deflate. Divide dough in half. Roll each half into a 12"x6" rectangle. Cut each rectangle lengthwise into three 2" strips leaving them joined at one end by a 1/2" piece. Braid the strips. Tuck under the ends to make the dough about the same length as the bake pan. Place in the pan.

Place the pans in a warm place, cover with wax paper, and leave until center of dough has risen 1/2" above edge of pan, 45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350F 20 minutes before baking.

Bake until loaves are golden brown, about 45 minutes. They are down when tapping the bottom crust yields a hard, hollow sound. If not, bake an extra 5-10 min. Shift loaves midway through baking so that they are done evenly. Cover with foil if they brown too quickly.

Remove bread from oven. Turn from pans and place on metal rack to cool before slicing.

source: Bernard Clayton's New Complete Book of Breads