Blue Cheese Swirl Bread
My first crack at ‘swirl bread’ and it came out looking like a giant snail. (It was supposed to be flat due to even rolling and rising and fill the pan – see NYT Cooking for the inspiration and photo). But it was still awesome! If you’re ever worried about whether or not your bread is done, trust an instant thermometer – 200 degrees is perfect – enjoy!
1 c. whole milk AND 4 T. butter AND 1/2 c. water
4 c. flour AND 2 1/4 t. Quick-Rise Instant Yeast AND 1 t. kosher salt
~200 g crumbled blue cheese (I only had 125 g, but it was still really lovely)
cream for brushing
In a small pot on the stove (or in a bowl in the microwave), gently heat up the milk, butter and water until the butter has just melted and the mix is just barely warm.
In the bowl of your electric mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the flour, yeast, salt and milk mix on low speed for 3 minutes, then increase the speed to medium and mix for 3 minutes more. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased medium bowl, cover with plastic wrap and leave to rise for about an hour. Check it a little early, my dough was busting out after an hour.
Generously grease a 10-inch cast iron skillet with butter. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a log about 2 feet long and about 2 inches in diameter. If it looks long and skinny to you, I recommend maybe making it even longer and even skinnier – this will be key to an even swirl. Press the blue cheese crumbles into the dough log evenly in a long stripe down the middle. Starting at one end, carefully roll the log into a spiral – an extra set of hands may help! Place the spiral into your prepared skillet (the blue cheese should all be tucked inside and not visible, if you pressed it into the log securely enough), cover it with plastic wrap and leave to rise until it visibly puffs up. This will take about a half hour.
Preheat the oven to 375, take the cover off of the dough and brush it all over with cream. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the bread is a lovely golden brown and has an internal temperature of 195 to 200 degrees. Allow the bread to rest for about 15 minutes before cutting into it. We loved this dipped into our favorite beef stew (instead of the blue cheese biscuits).