You did see the word cheesy, right?
(This post is in partnership with Harvesters! But we’ll get to that.)
You know my obsession with Bittman’s no-knead bread. I make it 87 times a day and blab about it 157 times a day. It’s an unstable mental condition and I won’t do a single thing about it.
But GUESS WHAT I DID TO IT. (the bread, not my mental condition.)
It’s been Bevified. (<–please don’t delete me from your life.)
I added spices to it. And CHEESE to it. (!) Little baby cubes of aged white cheddar that melt into surprise gooey pockets of holiday frickin’ cheer.
Simple enough, right?
I know my Italian seasoning looks RED. When most Italian seasonings look more GREEN. Which coincidentally are both holiday colors so you’re automatically on the nice list. Either one works! My bread ended up having a teensy red hue, but yours might have more green in it. Doesn’t affect the chemical conspiculatory confoundment rebalanaculamitary makeup whatsoever.
Don’t quote me on that. ^
So just toss it all in a bowl and hire a tiny hand to help stir (read: destroy) the dry stuff.
After you add the (room temp!) water, mix it together. This is what it’ll be: sticky, messy, scraggly. Just like my soul.
Cover it with some plastic wrap and a tea towel, and let her rest for like, EIGHTEEN HOURS. At least 12. A long time. Overnight. Write your Christmas cards. REFILL YOUR ‘NOG.
That yeast had a party, man. And no one called the cops.
It will have tripled in size (at least), grown veeeeery bubbly and extreeeeemely sticky. Not sure why mine has a kitten’s rear end in it. Yours will be better.
At this point, put a bunk ton of flour on your hand and scrap it out onto a floured work surface. THIS is where the no knead part comes in. You’ll simply fold it over itself three or four times and watch it become a silky ball of dough with knobbies of cheese peaking out to say hi. Hi!
Also, ignore my nails. Sometimes we can’t have it all in life.
Cover with plastic wrap and let it rest another 20 minutes. THEN flip it over itself again another three or four times, cover with a towel and let it rest for about two more hours. Seems crazy, but after you do it enough (remember the 87 times a day thing I said?) you’ll be able to do it asleep. But probably don’t try that.
OUT OF THE OVEN. Guuuuuh. Rustic, peaky, crusty, tiny cheesy craters of tongue euphoria.
Now 87 times a day make sense to you.
SEE THE POCKETS? SEE THE CHEESE? THE OOZE? Sorry to scream at you.
We recently went to a Fakesgiving dinner out on our friends’ farm, so we took a cheesy version, and then the plain version, which is JUST AS brilliant and will not get kicked out of your mouths.
This bread is my legit go-to when it comes to any party or gathering contribution. I make it for friends’ birthdays, holiday dinners, soup pot lucks, new neighbors – it seriously works for anything! My point is. Make this. Make this and give it away. Okay, make two. Keep one and give the other one. Because as we officially enter the SEASON OF GIVING (not screaming at you), I’m totally reminded of this: there are things we need, things we want, and things we love. FOOD is all three.
And I know the whole idea of “giving back” this season feels totally vague, overwhelming and a bit cliché. But it doesn’t have to feel like that. You can give back in YOUR STYLE. Whether it be donating your time at Harvesters, dropping off canned goods at the donation bins, helping out your local soup kitchen, or just finding a simple way to contribute communally. It’s all amazing and it’s all helpful.
You can even enlist tiny helpers to do your work for you while you sit around with red wine and Christmas movies. Ha!
This bread is KILLER. If you get the chance to make it and share it with your friends or neighbors or community this season – awesome.
But just save me a piece or 80, ‘mkay?