The red pepper flakes in this bread give it a good kick. If you want a milder bread, reduce or even leave out the red pepper flakes. This recipe was adapted from America's Test Kitchen's Spicy Cheese Bread recipe.
To make the bread, you will need:
- 3 1/4 cups flour
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 packet of yeast
- 1 1/2 teaspoons red pepper flakes (optional, to taste)
- 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 2 large eggs plus 1 egg yolk
- 4 tablespoons butter, melted
- 8 ounces monterey jack cheese* (I used colby/monterey jack)
- 6 ounces provolone* (I used slices)
- 1 tablespoon butter, melted
* These are the amounts I used but if you want to use more, it will be even cheesier.
Tools you will need:
- stand mixer with bowl and dough hook, or large bowl and wooden spoon
- large bowl (to hold the dough while it rises)
- bowl for cheese (optional)
- measuring spoons and cups
- 9-inch round cake pan
- spray oil
- plastic wrap
- knife for cutting cheese
- cutting board
- clean dish towel for covering dough as it rises
- wire cooling rack(s)
Step 1: Make the Dough
Combine all the dry ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer. Attach the dough hook to the stand mixer and lock the bowl in place.
In a glass measuring cup, combine warm water, eggs, and 4 tablespoons melted butter. Mix well. With the mixer running on low speed, pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients. Mix thoroughly, 5-10 minutes, until the dough comes together into a ball and there is no flour sticking to the sides.
Step 2: Time to Let It Rise
With the cooking spray, lightly spray the inside of a large bowl. Gently remove the bread dough from the mixing bowl. It will be sticky. Shape it into a ball and set it in the large bowl that was sprayed with oil. Turn the dough so that all sides of the ball are coated with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Set it in a warm place to rise until doubled, for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
Step 3: Prep the Cheese
Get the cheese all ready.
I used 9 slices of provolone cheese. I stacked them all up and cut them in half. Then I cut each half in half again, parallel with the flat edge of the center so that I would have more rectangular shapes rather than little triangles. As long as they are cut into pieces it doesn't really matter how you cut them. Separate all the little slices so that they will be easier to sprinkle.
I used an 8 ounce block of colby/monterey jack cheese. I cut it into 1/4-inch slices then cut each slice into quarters. I didn't want them to be too small but since I was using sliced provolone I didn't want them to be too big either. So I cut them all in half again just to make them smaller, closer in size to the provolone slices. I put them all into a bowl and mixed them up a little.
Step 4: Prep Your Loaf
Grease your 9-inch cake pan with spray oil and set it aside.
Now that the dough has doubled in size, it's time to roll it out. The only special equipment you need is your hands, and perhaps something to measure with if you want. It doesn't have to be exact; after all, it's art as much as baking at this point. Turn the dough out onto a clean counter top or work surface. You don't need any flour or oil; it will not stick to your counter. Gently pat the dough into a rectangle that is roughly 18 inches wide by 12 inches deep. The dough is smooth enough and flexible enough that you can pull up the edges to stretch it to size as needed.
Once your dough is in a rectangle, spread all of your cheese evenly across the rectangle, leaving a 1-inch border all the way around the edge. Beginning with the long edge, gently fold over the edge of the dough over the cheese in the center. Carefully roll the dough over the cheese into a log shape. Pinch the long edge to seal the loaf together. If there are any holes, gently pinch them together so that the cheese doesn't escape from the roll. Roll the log out until it measures about 30 inches long.
Step 5: Time to Let It Rise Again
It's time to form the spiral. Carefully, tuck one end of the log back onto itself and start rolling the dough into a spiral. Continue rolling the log into a spiral until it resembles a snail shell. Tuck the last end underneath the loaf. Pinch it to attach it to the rest of the spiral.
Gently lift the spiral and place it in the center of the prepared cake pan. Cover it with a clean dish towel and set in a warm place to rise until doubled, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
Step 6: Time to Bake
Once the dough has doubled in size again, it is time to bake.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Once preheated, place the bread on the center rack and bake for 25 minutes. Take it out of the oven, cover it in foil, and place it back in the oven. Bake it for another 25 to 30 minutes, or until it is done. It should sound hollow when you tap it in the center. The foil will prevent the bread from browning too much.
Once it comes out of the oven, place the pan on a wire rack to cool. Remove the foil. Melt 1 tablespoon butter and gently brush the top of the bread. Let cool for about 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the pan to loosen it. Gently slide the loaf out of the pan and back onto the wire rack. I found it easier to invert the pan onto a second wire rack then flip it back onto the first wire rack. Let it cool for about 30 more minutes then dig in!! Yum!!