This is a variation of several cheese breads I've made, and it's easy and incredibly good. The bread has plenty of cheese flavor, unlike some commercial cheese breads. Shredded cheddar cheese complements the tang of the sourdough, and chunks of Colby-Jack cheese provide pockets of cheese as you bite into the bread. The bread is good at room temperature, but it's fantastic toasted, so that the pockets of cheese are warm and semi-melting. A dusting of sesame seeds atop the bread toasts while the bread bakes and provide a nice crunch as well as flavor. I like the bread for breakfast as it supplies protein as well as carbohydrates. The bread also is great with salads for a light lunch, and it's fantastic alongside tomato soup. And for a special, different treat, try the bread alongside your dinner casseroles in lieu of garlic bread.
Sourdough Sesame-Cheese Bread -- Makes 1 Loaf
1 cup of sourdough starter/discard
1 large egg
2 tablespoons of canola oil
2 tablespoons of milk
1 cup of whole-wheat flour
1 cup of all-purpose flour
1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese (preferably sharp cheddar)
1 cup of cubed Colby-Jack cheese
2-3 teaspoons of sesame seeds
In a large bowl, combine the starter/discard, egg, oil, milk, and the whole-wheat flour and mix them well. Loosely cover the bowl and let the mixture sit at least an hour (I usually leave it for 3-5 hours, depending on what I have to do--don't worry, it will be fine and probably rise a bit). Add the cup of all-purpose flour and mix/knead it in well. Knead in the shredded cheese gradually. Spread the dough out on the counter into a rectangle about an inch thick. Distribute the cubed cheese evenly on the dough. Fold the dough up to incorporate the cheese. Spread and fold the dough again to ensure the cubed cheese is incorporated evenly. Shape the dough into a loaf and place it in a 9- x 5-inch loaf pan (or similar) spritzed with non-stick cooking spray. Spritz the top of the dough with nonstick cooking spray or olive oil and sprinkle on the sesame seeds. Spritz the seeds with spray or oil and loosely cover the bread (it helps them stick and prevents them from burning later). Let the bread rise for 1-3 hours or until it just barely reaches the top of the loaf pan (how long will depend on the temperature of your kitchen and the robustness of your starter). Uncover the bread and preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Bake the bread for 30-40 minutes or until it reaches an internal temperature of 190 degrees. Let the bread cool in the pan for 10 minutes before removing it to cool completely.