Man Vs. Bread

I love men.

Not in a ‘It’s raining men’ kind of way. In a general, all round appreciation for them. They squish creepy things, they reach things that are juuuust out of the way of my tiny 5’3″ reach. Men have an excellent array of jackets, ready to be chivalrously donated to temperature sensitive women. They come to my house and fix broken things (thanks Frankie). They cook for you when you really only have the energy to ‘cook’ cornflakes (thanks Wade). Men even  chaperone you to Scitech when you want to gaze in wonder at animatronic dinosaurs and generally act like a toddler (thanks Blair).

Sometimes, men just don’t want to be served another pretty cake. Men don’t always give a crap about flan. I even heard a rumor that real men don’t eat quiche (one that my dad and his highly impressive mustache refute). Sometimes, they just need man food.

So, to these men, I dedicate this pull apart bread. It’s got everything men could want. Beer. Cheese. Strong, punchy flavours. One handed simpleness so that way they don’t spill their beverage. Did someone say “perfect for sport game watching”? Oh wait, I did. That was me.

So here it is.

Thanks Men. You’re awesome.

Cheddar, Beer & Mustard Pull Apart Bread

From: Smitten Kitchen

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup plus 1/3 cup beer, preferably dark but whatever is on hand
2 1/2 cups plain flour, divided
1/3 cup rye flour (use plain flour if you don’t have this)
2 tablespoons caster sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
1 teaspoon table salt
2 large eggs, at room temperature

3 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon Dijon or a mustard of your choice
1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
Dash of Tabasco
1 teaspoon mustard powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon table salt
Several grinds black pepper
1 1/2 cups (about 200g) shredded cheddar

Make dough: In a small saucepan, melt the 4 tablespoons butter in 1/4 cup of beer. Remove from heat and pour in the additional 1/3 cup beer. Set aside for a couple of minutes to cool slightly.

Meanwhile, sift together 2 cups of plain flour with the yeast, sugar and salt in a mixing bowl. With the mixer set on low, slowly pour in the beer and butter mixture, dampening the flour mix. Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix until combined. If the mixture looks lumpy, that’s ok! Add the last of the flour, and mix until combined. If at this point the dough looks too dry (mine did), add a tablespoon of beer at a time until a better consistency. Knead for a couple of minutes until a supple dough forms.

Cover the dough with glad wrap, and set aside to prove in a warm place until doubled in size, about an hour

To make the filling; In a small saucepan, melt 3 tablespoons butter. Remove from heat and add the Worcestershire, mustard and Tabasco. Mix until smooth and set aside.

In a mixing bowl, add paprika, mustard powder, salt and a couple of cracks of fresh black pepper. Add the cheddar and mix until the cheese is evenly coated with the spice mix. Keep in the fridge until ready to use.

To put it all together: Spray a loaf tin with oil and set aside.

Flour up your bench top, and roll the dough into a 50-by-30-cm rectangle. Brush the mustard mixture evenly over the dough, right to the edges. Cut the dough into 5 strips. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of cheese across the first strip of dough. Gently place another strip of dough on top of the first, sprinkle another 1/4 cup of cheese, and repeat with the remaining dough and cheese.

Very, very gently, cut the stack into 6 segments. The dough will stretch, so be careful! Tip the loaf pan up on its short end, and stack the segments. Wrap the loaf tin in glad wrap and rest for a further 30 minutes.

Bake the bread at 180*c for 25 to 35 minutes, until brown and puffed. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving.


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