I don’t remember a time when mom didn’t make chunk-o-cheese bread. It’s great not only for the chunks of cheese, but the almost sweet, savory flavor of molasses, and wonderful density.
This recipe has been used a time or two. With thanks to the Advertisers, here is my version of the recipe:
1.75 c water
0.5 c corn meal
2 t salt
0.5 c molasses
2 T butter
2.25 t dry yeast or 1 packet dry yeast or 1 cake fresh yeast
0.5 c warm water
4 – 4.5 c flour
1 lb cheese cut into 0.25″ to 0.5″ cubes
butter to grease the pan
Cook water, corn meal, and salt in a pan until boiling. This mixture should stiffen a little. Remove from heat and add molasses and butter. Allow to cool until slightly warm.
In a large mixing bowl, mix the yeast in water and then stir in the corn meal mixture. Do not overheat the yeast, which will kill it. Add flour bit by bit until a stiff dough forms. Sprinkle the tabletop with flour and knead the dough there until it is smooth.
Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover with a clean dish towel, and allow to rise until double in size. The time to rise will depend on the strength of the yeast and temperature, about 1 – 1.5 hours.
Grease two 9″ round pans or equivalent area sheet pans. Work the cubed cheese into the dough. Divide the dough and shape into two round loaves. Place on greased pans and cover with dish towels. Let rise until double in size, about 1 hour. Bake at 350 F until deep brown, about 45 – 55 minutes.
Mom’s advice is not to use aluminum foil because it can stick to the bread, which does not taste delicious. Greasing the pan with butter is adequate. Try to bury all of the cheese chunks in the dough. Oozing cheese sticks to even a well greased pan. Getting all of the cheese into the dough will not be easy, but well worth it.
Grandma Elma’s advice is to scrape the butter off the wrapper before using the wrapper to grease the pan or throw it out. I try to scrape every measuring cup and bowl clean as I mix because what isn’t used ends up down the drain or in the compost.
Adding too much flour to the bread can make it tough. Keep the table dusted with flour while starting to knead the dough. Cover your hands with butter or oil to prevent the dough from sticking to them. When the dough inevitably sticks to the table or hands, rub flour on it to release it and then reincorporate it into the dough. Think good thoughts.
A warm, but not hot, location such as a warm radiator or the stove top when it is being used for other cooking or baking is ideal. If your home is very cool, a heating pad can be used under the bowl or pan to warm the bread.
My advice is to use sharp cheese because it makes such a nice contrast to the slightly sweet dough. There is (almost) never a good reason to use American cheese as the original recipe indicates.
Cut this bread in generous slabs and butter accordingly. This is a nice sturdy bread, which makes it great for picnics and carrying in your day pack (at the top).
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