Full time 3 1/2 to 4 hours
Makes 1 loaf (I would not double, just mix multiples in different bowls)
You will need:
1 package active dry yeast
4 1/2 cups flour
1 1/4 cup whole or 2% milk
1/3 cup butter, cut into pieces
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
Filling (can be changed if desired, see bottom for some great substitutions)
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar
1 bunch fresh chives, chopped into 1/4 " pieces
1/4 cup butter, melted
Let us begin:
In a sauce pan combine milk, butter, sugar, and salt. Heat over low heat, stirring often to avoid scorching until it reaches 110-115 degrees.
Remove from heat and sprinkle yeast across the top of the surface.
Allow to sit for 5-10 minutes.
In a large mixing bowl combine egg and 1 1/2 cup flour.
Pour in the milk mixture and stir until fully incorporated and smooth.
Add in 1 1/2 cup flour and mix until fully incorporated.
Add in only enough flour to pull the mixture into a slightly sticky dough, roughly 3/4 cup to 1 cup flour.
Spray cooking spray into a bowl and transfer dough into it.
Cover bowl with a kitchen towel and place in a warm area to let rise for 1 1/2 hour.
Punch dough down.
Turn out onto lightly floured surface. If you have remaining flour from earlier, keep it on hand you may need it to prevent overly sticky dough.
Knead dough for 2-3 minutes until no longer sticky but do not over knead. Divide into two equal pieces.
Grease a 8 x 4 loaf pan and set aside for a moment.
Roll each piece out into a 12 X 20 inch piece which is roughly 1/4" thick.
Brush each half with the melted butter.
Sprinkle each half with chives.
Sprinkle each half with cheddar.
Slice each half into 2 1/2"to 3" wide pieces width wise.
Working with only one half at a time,and stack each slice on top of each other, cheese side up.
Slice the stack into 2 1/2" to 3" wide pieces.
Stack pieces into your greased bread pan, cheese side up.
Repeat slice and stack with second half.
When fully stacked, cover pan with a kitchen towel and set in a warm area to rise for 30-45 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350.
Bake in oven for 40 minutes.
Carefully remove pan from oven and tent with aluminum foil, bake an additional 15-25 minutes.
Remove from oven and remove foil tent.
Let sit for 15 minutes and then gently remove from pan onto a plate or board, allow to cool for 30 minutes before serving.
You will need to let fully cool, roughly 1 hour before wrapping if giving as a gift.
Some great flavor options are:
Chipotle Pepper Cheddar bread:
Substitute red pepper flakes for chives and add a bit of hot sauce to the melted butter.
Mozzarella Basil Accordion bread:
Substitute mozzarella for the cheddar and basil for the chives.
Jack Accordion Bread:
Substitute Pepper Jack for the cheddar. Remove chives and add 1 tsp of ground black pepper to the melted butter.
Rosemary Olive Bread:
Remove cheese and chives from recipe and use chopped black olives and chopped rosemary to make the layers.
Sun dried Tomato Feta Bread:
Substitute crumbled feta cheese for the cheddar. Remove chives from recipe. Use chopped sun dried tomatoes to make layers.