Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Braided Cheese Bread

Braided Cheese Bread
This recipe is a twist on the Czech Christmas bread that is such a  tradition in my family.  I figured that since that bread always comes out so perfectly delicious, I am sure using the base ingredients and changing it up a little will yield all sorts of new recipe ideas.  I have always been fond of cheese and olive breads that you can buy in a bakery, but being health conscious, I have always been upset that they are almost always made using white flour.  But not this one.  Like the Vánočka, this recipe takes a bit of time, but it is fairly easy and yields an amazingly moist, flavorful and decorative loaf.  I made these over Thanksgiving as a centerpiece for two separate family meals and they were almost completely devoured each time.  If you do happen to have left overs, they are great as a base for a savory sandwich.
Braided Cheese Bread
Makes 1 large or 2 medium braids

5 – 6 C. organic white whole wheat flour
1 tsp. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 packages Active Dry Yeast
1 C. organic 1% milk
2/3 C. water
1/4 C. extra virgin olive oil
2 organic eggs (at room temperature)
2 - 3 C. shredded cheese
1 C. chopped olives, optional

In a large bowl thoroughly mix 1½ cups flour, sugar, salt, black pepper and yeast.

Combine milk, water, and oil in a saucepan. Heat over low heat until liquids are very warm (120°F.-130°F). Gradually add to the dry in­gredients and beat 2 minutes at medium speed of an electric mixer, scraping the bowl occasionally. Add eggs and ½ cup flour. Beat at high speed 2 minutes, scraping the bowl occasionally. Stir in cheese, olives (if using) and enough additional flour to make a stiff dough. Turn out onto lightly floured board and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 to 10 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap, then a towel. Let rest 60 minutes.

To make large braid: Divide dough into 4 equal pieces. Roll 3 pieces into ropes 14 inches long. Braid together on greased baking sheet. Tuck ends under to seal. Divide remaining piece into 3 equal pieces. Roll into ropes 9 inches long. Braid together. Place small braid on large braid. Tuck ends under to seal.

To make medium braids: Divide dough in half. Shape each half as above.

Cover loosely with a towel and let rise 60 minutes. Bake at 375°F for about 35 minutes for the  large braid, 25 minutes for medium braids. Remove from baking sheet and cool on wire rack. 

dough ready to knead

kneaded dough ready to rise

after an hour rising

rolled out and ready to braid
close up of rolled dough

braided and ready to rise again

ready for the oven

cooling... ready to eat soon!!!


  1. I am going to try this cheese bread. Bet it smells delicious when baking.

    1. It certainly does!! You won't be disappointed!! :)

  2. Looks awesome! Love braiding bread, so pretty. Saw your card in the locker room and glad I did. Great blog!