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Saturday, June 18, 2016

Recipe: Cheesecake Bread

Loaf of Sliced Cheesecake Bread

Recipe: Cheesecake Bread



Follow your cravings!

The easiest way to come up with the idea for a new recipe is simply to make what you want to eat. This week, I wanted Cheesecake baked inside a loaf of Bread.

It's not a revolutionary idea. After all, a Cheese Danish has the combination more or less perfected. But a Cheese Danish is not a loaf of Bread, and that's what I wanted - slices of sweet Bread with a rich, gooey center.

The concept is simple, but baking Cheesecake inside a loaf of Bread presents a significant technical challenge. While many Breads bake at higher temperatures (375 degrees Fahrenheit and above), delicate Cheesecake requires lower heat (325 degrees Fahrenheit and below) to prevent the Eggs from over-coagulating and curdling. 

A successful loaf requires a baking temperature compromise. This Cheesecake Bread is initially baked at 375 degrees Fahrenheit (191 degrees Celsius) to promote a good rise and to set the outer crust. The heat is then reduced to 325 degrees Fahrenheit (163 degrees Celsius) to allow the Bread and Cheesecake Filling to finish baking without burning the crust or overcooking the Eggs.

As a sort of culinary insurance policy, I included one special ingredient in the Cheesecake Filling recipe - Corn Starch. The starches physically inhibit the Eggs from curdling at higher heat (within reason!) So if things get a bit too hot, it won't result in a disaster.

The base Bread Dough for this recipe is my Basic Yeast BreadI hesitate to call it a "Mother Dough", one that can be used as the base for any purpose, because it contains Butter, Sugar and Eggs (i.e. it is an Enriched Bread). But it is still a remarkably versatile recipe that works extremely well in many situations... such as this!

And if this is your first time making bread, you might want to check out these helpful illustrations!

Slices of Cheesecake Bread
The sweet Bread Dough used in this recipe is already plenty delicious on its own. Filling it with Cheesecake may border on overkill. But that shouldn't stop anyone from trying!

The Cheesecake Filling baked inside this Bread should remain soft and creamy... a just liquid core spiraled inside.

Bowl of Roughly Mixed Bread Dough
The most important detail in mixing the Bread Dough is to sufficiently develop the gluten structure. This requires extensive kneading. If the gluten structure is weak, the Bread will not rise properly. And when it is baked with the Cheesecake Filling, it will be a sad, dense, gooey mess (and not a good, dense, gooey mess, because those do exist).

Read the full post on the Basic Yeast Bread Dough for additional details.

This Bread Dough recipe was developed to be an easy, single mix. There are no sequenced additions of ingredients. There's no overnight resting period. True, these techniques are critical in many recipes, but in this case, they are not necessary.

Begin by combining all of the ingredients (i.e. Yeast, Milk, Water, Eggs, Butter, Bread Flour, Sugar and Salt) in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. Mix the Bread Dough on low speed until the ingredient are mostly combined. The Bread Dough will initially appear very shaggy.

Testing the Gluten Structure of Bread
Increase the speed of the mixer to medium, and knead the Bread Dough until it is well-combined and begins to appear smooth. This will take about five minutes. You will notice that the Bread Dough appears sticky as the Water, Milk, Eggs and Butter hydrate the Bread Flour. Stop the mixer and scrape down the dough hook and the sides of the bowl.

Testing the Gluten Structure of Bread
Continue kneading the Bread Dough on high speed until the gluten structure is fully developed - up to an additional five minutes.

As the gluten structure develops, the Bread Dough will more tightly cling to the dough hook and will begin to pull away from the sides and bottom of the bowl. When the gluten structure is sufficiently strong, the Bread Dough will likely completely pull away from the bowl.

To test the gluten structure, "pull a window". Gently stretch a small piece of Bread Dough between your fingers. If it breaks apart easily, continue kneading. If the Bread Dough is elastic and holds a "pane", then the gluten structure is sufficiently developed.

Bowl of Properly Mixed Bread Dough for Proofing
Transfer the Bread Dough to an oiled bowl or proofing container. Cover the Bread Dough and let it proof until it is doubled in size - about 45-60 minutes.

When it has sufficiently proofed, degas and turn the Bread Dough - remove the Bread Dough from the proofing container and gently fold the outside edges in towards the center. This process degases the Bread Dough, evens out the temperature and redistributes the Yeast.

Return the Bread Dough to the proofing container and proof it for a second time until doubled in size - about 30-45 minutes.

Bowl of Cream Cheese Filling
While the Bread Dough is proofing, prepare the Cheesecake Filling. The Cheesecake Filling is a basic mixture of Cream Cheese, Sugar, Eggs, Corn Starch and Salt. The Corn Starch is an important addition to a traditional Cheesecake recipe as it helps to prevent the Eggs from curdling as the Bread bakes.

Begin by placing the Cream Cheese and Sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat it smooth on the slowest speed. In a separate bowl, gently stir the Eggs together with the Corn Starch and Salt to create a loose slurry. Add the Egg mixture to the Cream Cheese mixture and gently beat the Cream Cheese Filling smooth.

In all the mixing, be careful not to beat air into the Cream Cheese Filling. Trapped air will expand during the baking process causing the Cream Cheese Filling to inflate and potentially burst through the Bread.

Place the Cream Cheese Filling in the refrigerator to chill.

Unbaked Loaf of Cheesecake Bread in Pan
When the Bread Dough has sufficiently proofed, remove it from the proofing container and divide the Bread Dough into two 500g portions.

Roll out each 500g portion of Bread Dough into a rectangle approximately 8" x 16" on a lightly floured surface. Evenly spread a thin (i.e. 1/4") layer of the chilled Cream Cheese Filling onto the Bread Dough, leaving 1" of space around the edges. You will need approximately 150g of filling. Do not overfill the Bread or it may burst when it bakes.

With the short side of the Bread Dough facing you, gently roll up the Bread Dough, pinching and tucking the ends of the loaf as you roll to seal in the Cream Cheese Filling. When you reach the end, tightly pinch the seam of the Bread Dough to seal the loaf.

Repeat the process with the second portion of Bread Dough.

Place the formed loaves seam-side down into a 9" loaf pan that has been prepared with Butter or non-stick spray. Lightly cover the loaf pans with plastic wrap and allow the Cheesecake Bread to proof for 20-30 minutes.

As the Bread rises for the last time, preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit (191 degrees Celsius).

Baked Cheesecake Bread in Pan - Close Up

When the Cheesecake Bread has finished its final proof, gently brush the tops of the Cheesecake Breads with Egg Wash and then lightly dust each loaf with a mixture of Cinnamon and Sugar.

Bake the Cheesecake Breads for 15 minutes at 375 degrees Fahrenheit (191 degrees Celsius). Rotate the loaves to ensure even baking and reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees Fahrenheit (163 degrees Celsius). Bake the Cheesecake Bread for an additional 10-15 minutes or until the loaves are lightly browned on the top and when an internal temperature registers 190 degrees Fahrenheit (88 degrees Celsius).

Note: Salmonella is killed around 160 degrees Fahrenheit (71 degrees Celsius).

Baked Loaf of Cheesecake Bread
Allow the Cheesecake Bread to cool in the loaf pan. When it is fully cool, remove the Cheesecake Bread from the loaf pan and transfer it to a cooling rack.

Overhead of Sliced Loaf of Cheesecake Bread
The Cheesecake Filling should have just barely set throughout the Bread - a delicious, custard-like core.

The Cheesecake Bread is best served the day it is made. Because the Cheesecake Bread contains an Egg and Dairy filling, it should be stored in the refrigerator wrapped in plastic wrap. The refrigerated Cheesecake Bread will keep well for three to four days. 

Cheesecake Bread that has been refrigerated is best when gently warmed before serving.




- The Recipe -




Cheesecake Bread:


Yield1,000g (Two 9" Loaves)

Bread Ingredients:
  • Water: 120g (0.5 Cup)
  • Milk: 120g (0.5 Cup)
  • Fresh Yeast*: 16g
  • Eggs: 100g (2x)
  • Butter, soft: 115g (0.5 Cup / 1 Stick)
  • Bread Flour: 500g (4 Cups)
  • Sugar: 50g (0.25 Cup)
  • Salt: 12g (2 Tsp)

* If you do not have Fresh Yeast, you can use either Active Dry Yeast or Instant Yeast. For Active Dry Yeast, use 50% of the recipe weight (8g). For Instant Yeast, use 40% of the recipe weight (6g).


Cheesecake Filling Ingredients:
  • Cream Cheese : 120g (0.5 Cup)
  • Sugar: 100g (0.5 Cup)

  • Egg: 50g (1x)
  • Corn Starch: 8g (1 Tbls)
  • Salt: 3g (0.5 Tsp)


Directions:

1. Combine the Water and Milk and gently heat the liquids to ~95 degrees Fahrenheit (i.e. barely warm to touch). Stir in the Yeast. Transfer the wet ingredients to a mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add the Eggs and soft Butter followed by the Bread Flour, Sugar and Salt.

2. Start mixing the Bread Dough on low speed until the ingredients are mostly combined but shaggy - about one minute. Increase the speed to medium and knead the Bread Dough until it is well-combined and begins to appear smooth - about five minutes.

3. Stop the mixer and scrape down the dough hook and the sides of the bowl. At this point the ingredients should be very well combined; however, the gluten structure will require further development. Continue kneading the Bread Dough on high speed until the gluten structure is fully developed - about five minutes.

4. Transfer the Bread Dough to an oiled bowl or proofing container. Cover the Bread Dough and let it proof until doubled in size - about 45-60 minutes.

5. As the Bread Dough proofs, prepare the Cheesecake Filling. Place the Cream Cheese and Sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and gently beat it smooth on the slowest speed. In a separate bowl, gently stir the Eggs together with the Corn Starch and Salt to create a loose slurry. Add the Egg mixture to the Cream Cheese mixture and gently beat the Cream Cheese Filling smooth.

Chef's Note: The Corn Starch helps to prevent the Eggs from over-coagulating during the baking process. Be careful not to beat air into the Cream Cheese Filling. Trapped air will expand during the baking process causing the Cream Cheese Filling to inflate and potentially burst through the Bread.

6. When it has sufficiently proofed, degas and turn the Bread Dough - remove the Bread Dough from the proofing container and gently fold the outside edges in towards the center. Return the Bread Dough to the proofing container and proof it for a second time until double in size - about 30-45 minutes.

7. When the Bread Dough has completed the second proof, divide it into two 500g portions. Roll out each 500g portion of Bread Dough into a rectangle approximately 8" x 16" on a lightly floured surface. Evenly spread a thin (i.e. 1/4") layer of the chilled Cream Cheese Filling onto the Bread Dough, leaving 1" of space around the edges. You will need approximately 150g of filling. Do not overfill the Bread or it may burst when it bakes.

8. With the short side of the Bread Dough facing you, gently roll up the Bread Dough, pinching and tucking the ends of the loaf as you roll to seal in the Cream Cheese Filling. When you reach the end, tightly pinch the seam of the Bread Dough to seal the loaf. Repeat the process with the second portion of Bread Dough.

9. Place the formed loaves of Cheesecake Bread seam-side down into a 9" loaf pan that has been prepared with Butter or non-stick spray. Lightly cover the loaf pans with plastic wrap and allow the Cheesecake Bread to proof for 20-30 minutes. As the loaves complete the final proof, preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit (191 degrees Celsius).

10. When the Cheesecake Bread has finished its final proof, gently brush the tops of the loaves with Egg Wash and then lightly dust each loaf with a mixture of Cinnamon and Sugar.

11. Bake the Cheesecake Bread for 15 minutes at 375 degrees Fahrenheit (191 degrees Celsius). Rotate the loaves to ensure even baking and reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees Fahrenheit (163 degrees Celsius). Bake the Cheesecake Bread for an additional 10-15 minutes or until the loaves are lightly browned on the top and when an internal temperature registers 190 degrees Fahrenheit (88 degrees Celsius).

Chef's Note: Salmonella is killed around 160 degrees Fahrenheit (71 degrees Celsius)

12. Allow the Cheesecake Bread to cool in the loaf pan. When it is fully cool, remove the Cheesecake Bread from the loaf pan and transfer it to a cooling rack.

Storage:
The Cheesecake Bread is best served the day it is made. Because the Cheesecake Bread contains an Egg and Dairy filling, it should be stored in the refrigerator wrapped in plastic wrap. The refrigerated Cheesecake Bread will keep well for three to four days.
- Cheesecake Bread that has been refrigerated is best when gently warmed before serving.



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