Hye Thyme Cafe: Cheese Bread Knots

Welcome to the Hy
e Thyme Cafe. Although not all of my recipes are Armenian, the name is a little nod to my Armenian grandmother who is no longer with us. The Hye refers to all things related to her homeland, and she represents all things food-related to me, so the two just seemed to go together. I can't even claim that my Armenian recipes are truly Armenian, since Greece, Turkey, Armenia, Lebanon, Syria, and even Egypt share so many foods that they've all sort of morphed into one over thousands of years.

Whether you like to cook, bake, have never done either, or just like to play with your food...come on in and join me! :)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Cheese Bread Knots

If I could, I would just skip the meal and eat a plate full of these! I don't know why we don't make them more often. The great thing is that it makes a bunch, and they freeze well. This sounds odd, but I think I actually like them better "recycled." I'll take some out of the freezer, brush them with melted butter, wrap them in a foil pouch and heat them in the oven when dinner is almost ready. I actually made them today to have with dinner tomorrow, brushed with garlic butter. Can't wait!

These are something that my Mom has been baking for a zillion years, and I don't know the original source. I looked online, and they popped up in several places, but the earliest reference I could find was to the Better Homes and Gardens Complete Step-by-Step Cookbook (1978). So, if they (or one of their readers) was the true origin for these little guys, I'd like to say THANKS!!

5 - 5 1/2 c flour
2 T yeast
2 c milk
1 t salt
1 1/2 c Swiss cheese
1/2 c sugar
4 T butter
1 egg

In the bowl of your stand mixer, add 2c flour and the yeast.

Mince or finely grate your cheese, then heat the milk, cheese, sugar, butter and salt, stirring constantly, until the butter is just about melted.  Remove from heat and continue stirring until the butter has completely melted.  You want it to be warm, but not hot enough to kill your yeast.

Add the warm milk mixture and the egg to the flour and beat on low for 30 seconds, then scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat on high for 3 minutes.  Add more flour, a half cup at a time, using enough to make a soft dough (I usually don't end up needing the full 5 1/2c).  Knead until smooth and elastic, about 5-8".  Lightly grease or spray a bowl, form the dough into a ball, roll it around the bowl to coat it, cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about an hour and a half.  

I just sprayed the mixer bowl and put it right back in there.  Although we have a proofing feature on our oven, I haven't found it to be particularly effective, so while I was mixing the dough, I set the oven to it's lowest temp and let it warm up for a minute, then turned it off .  When I was ready to let the dough rise, I put it in the oven on a potholder so the residual heat would help the rise but the hot rack wouldn't be in direct contact with the bowl.

Punch down the dough - dang, I didn't think to snap a pic before I punched it down, and it had a really nice rise! :(

Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface, divide into four equal parts and shape each into a ball.  Cover and let rise for 10".

Roll out each ball into a 12x6" rectangle and cut crosswise strips.  Tie each into a loose know and place on a lightly greased baking sheet.  Cover and let rise until double, about 40".  If they shrink up, give the ends a little tug to stretch them back out.  Brush with melted butter if desired, then bake for 10-12" at 375.

Look at all those little flecks of cheese.  They smell (and taste) soooooooooo good! 

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