Chunk o’ cheese bread

cheese bread ready to bake

9th Grand National cook book, 97pp.
compiled by Pillsbury
Pillsbury, Minneapolis, 1957
Cooking on page 32

You never know what you’ll find in a friend’s upstairs closet. This slim paperback was in an old storage box. In 1957, it sold for 25 cents. Today it’s advertised online for $1 to $12.95. It’s nice, but not worth the higher price unless you are a serious collector.

The 100 recipes are from the 100 contestants who came to compete in Los Angeles. A Mrs Gerda E. Roderer won the Grand Prize with a cookie/biscuit recipe from her native France.

Page 32 features a recipe by Mrs Richard W Ojakangas, who came second with an entry based on an old Finnish rye bread. Here’s a great article about her. The bake-off success helped her to establish a career as an cookbook author.

I’ve deleted all the brand names, and rejigged the formatting so it could fit into the blog format and make sense to you. I noticed that the format for the recipe in the above article was also rejigged. Oh, and I completely forgot to take a picture of the cover. Oops.

Chunk o' cheese bread

Chunk o’ cheese bread

Ingredients
1 3/4 cups water
1/2 cup corn meal, plus extra for rolling dough
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup molasses
2 tablespoons butter, plus extra for pans
1 packet yeast (1 1/2 teaspoons)
1/2 cup warm water
4 to 5 cups sifted all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling dough
1 pound cheese

flour, corn meal, molasses cheese bread batter adding flour cheese cubes risen cheese loaf

Method
In a 2-quart saucepan combine the 1 3/4 cups water, corn meal and salt. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly: cook until slightly thickened. Remove from heat. Add molasses and butter. Cool to lukewarm.

In a mixing bowl, soften yeast in the 1/2 cup warm water. Add the corn meal mixture;
blend thoroughly. Gradually add flour to form a stiff dough.

Knead on a well-floured surface until smooth and satiny, about 5 minutes. (To knead, fold dough over on itself and push with palms of hands. Repeat this process rhythmically, turning dough one-quarter way around each time.)

Place in greased bowl and cover. Let rise in warm place (85–90°F) until light and doubled in size, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Cut cheese into 1/4 to 1/2-inch cubes. Line two 8 or 9-inch round pans with 14-inch squares of heavy duty foil, edges extending over pan; grease well.

Place dough on surface sprinkled with corn meal. Work cheese into dough, one-fourth at a time, until cubes are evenly distributed. Divide into two parts. Shape into round loaves, covering cheese cubes.

Let rise in warm place until light and doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Bake in moderate oven (350°F) 45 to 55 minutes until deep golden brown.

How it played out
I’m not a big fan of molasses, but I didn’t think I should leave it out or substitute, so I went out and bought a brand new bottle. How’s that for commitment to page 32?

I then followed the rest of the recipe, using 4 cups of flour, which wasn’t enough. As a result I kept adding more flour and wrestling with a very wet dough. I won in the end. My only other difficulty was working in the entire pound of cheese. A pound is about 500 grams, and the best I could manage was 300 grams (or 10 ounces) of cheddar. On reflection I shouldn’t have worried about making sure the cheese was covered by dough. The bits that stuck out browned just fine and did not melt all over the oven.

I lined the pans with baking paper so didn’t need to grease them. And the baked loaves tipped out very easily.

Verdict
No wonder Mrs. Ojakangas went on to have a career in cooking. This bread is fantastic. Never mind that it has molasses in it. I loved it and it stayed so moist. I will definitely make this again, using closer to 5 cups of flour and taking up the challenge to work in all the cheese.

P.S. Be sure to drop by my travel blog.

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About leggypeggy

Intrepid overland traveller, keen photographer, avid cook—known to jump out of airplanes and do other silly things. Do not act my age.
This entry was posted in Baking, Bread, Cheese and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Chunk o’ cheese bread

  1. JunkChuck says:

    Copied this one down and added it to the “to do” list. Looks great. I’ll report back after I try it.

  2. Sheryl says:

    Sounds delicious. . . It’s intriguing how cubes of cheese are used in this recipe.

  3. Kiana Medeiros says:

    My grandmother passed on a really old Pillsbury recipe book to my mother. I remember attempting this bread in high school. The rise wasn’t the best, but I was in love with the taste. So glad you had this recipe for me to copy! Made this bread a few months ago and it was as divine as I remember.
    I do use olive oil to prep my counter surfaces before I knead my breads. Makes it less sticky and I don’t end up overloading it with flour.

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