Golden loaves of braided cheddar cheese bread, beautiful to look at, even more beautiful to eat.
1 cup warm water
1 (0.25-ounce) packet active dry yeast, or 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups all-purpose or bread flour
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3/4 cup butter, softened
4 large eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose or bread flour
6 ounces cheddar cheese, diced
1 large egg
1 teaspoon milk
2 teaspoons celery seed
- In a large bowl, combine warm water and yeast; stir to dissolve then let stand about 5 minutes.
- Add 1 1/2 cups flour, sugar, and salt. Beat with an electric mixer on the lowest speed for 1 minute then beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Add softened butter and continue to beat while adding 4 eggs, one at a time, and remaining flour to make a soft, sticky dough. Continue to beat until the dough is glossy and elastic and pulls away from the side of the bowl.
- Stir in diced cheddar cheese by hand. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 2 1/2 to 3 hours.
- Punch down and place in the refrigerator overnight.
- Divide the dough in half and knead on a lightly floured surface until soft. Divide each dough halve into 3 equal parts and roll each piece into a rope 12 to 16-inches long. Braid the ropes, starting in the middle and working toward each end. Pinch the ends together to seal.
- Grease a large baking sheet and place the finished braid on one side of the sheet. Repeat.
- In a small bowl beat together one egg and milk.
- Brush the braids with the egg mixture and let rise in a warm place until dough doubles in bulk, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Do not cover. Midway through brush with the egg mixture again.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F (205°C).
- When fully risen, brush with the egg mixture and sprinkle evenly with celery seed.
- Bake for 40 minutes or until the center is firm. Remove from the baking sheet and cool on wire racks.
Makes 2 braided loaves.