This is another interesting bread from the 200th Anniversary King Arthur Flour Company’s Cookbook. In this bread, the combination of the flavors of toasted sesame seeds and sharp cheddar cheese makes it a real standout. The resulting loaf is quite large, so it’s perfect for feeding the masses at that next family gathering you have planned!
2 cups warm water
¼ cup sugar
2 tablespoons dry yeast
6 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
2 eggs, slightly beaten
2 tablespoons butter, softened
½ cup sesame seeds, toasted
3 cups shredded, sharp cheddar cheese
To toast the sesame seeds, put them in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir occasionally, and cook until they are golden brown; about 5-7 minutes. Allow them to cool before adding to dough mixture.
Dissolve the sugar and yeast in the water. Stir in 2 cups of the flour, and then add the salt. Add the eggs, butter, sesame seeds and 2 cups of the cheese. Beat this mixture vigorously for 2 minutes (I use a large whisk, but an electric mixer can certainly be used). Gradually add the remaining flour until you have a dough that is stiff enough to knead. (I use all but about a half cup of the remaining flour.)
Turn the dough onto a floured surface. Flour your hands and knead until the dough is soft and elastic. Put the dough ball into a lightly greased bowl, turn it to make sure it is covered with grease, cover with a damp towel, and let it rise for and hour and a half.
Turn the dough onto a floured surface, and, using the heels of your hands, spread it out into an approximate 15 X 15 inch square. Sprinkle with the remaining cup of cheese, roll the dough up and knead it a few times so that the cheese is marbled throughout the dough. Cover and let rise for 5 minutes.
Divide dough into thirds and roll each third into a rope about 18 inches long. Braid the three ropes of dough together. Place onto a large, lightly greased baking sheet. Cover and let rise about 45 minutes.
About 15 minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 375. Lightly mist the surface of the dough, then put it into the oven for its 45 minute bake time. After 30 minutes, examine the bread to make sure it’s not browning too much. If it is, tent it with aluminum foil. After it’s done, and if you can stand waiting that long, allow it to cool for 15 minutes on a wire rack. If you can’t wait, start tearing off chunks immediately, slather with butter, and smile!