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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Recipe: Red Cheddar Flake (No-knead)

By Chris Siciliano

Several people have asked for a no-knead alternative to the cheddar jalapeno sourdough recipe. What follows is that alternative, albeit with a twist. Instead of fresh jalapenos, this recipe calls for two teaspoons of dried red pepper flakes. The reason: variety and convenience. On one hand, I really like the taste of red pepper flakes, sometimes more than jalapenos. On the other hand, red pepper flakes are a cinch to use. No dicing, chopping, or slicing means no risk of scorched eyeballs from an errant shot of pepper juice. Crisp jalapenos, they get me every time.

At the start of this experiment, I didn't know how well red pepper flakes would perform as a substitute. I now believe that nothing, not even jalapenos, could work better. The delayed heat of red pepper allows the cheddar cheese to shine for just a moment. Then POW! a nice clean burn cuts through the richness of the cheese, lingers for several minutes and then begins to fade. The fact I used a smoked cheddar didn't hurt matters any; the smoke provides a welcome, natural transition from the cheese to heat, a good way to tie the whole thing together.

This recipe is one I foresee returning to often, more so than even the jalapeno-based original -- that's how happy I am with it. I wonder too how many different kinds of dried chilis I can find in the international grocers around town. Could this be the start of something beautiful? My hope is that it is.

Recipe

  • 454g bread flour (1 lb)
  • 340g water (12oz)
  • 9-10g salt (1.5 tsps)
  • 1g Saf-instant yeast (1/4 tsp)
  • 5g red pepper flake (2 tsp)
  • 80-100g smoked cheddar cheese (3-4 oz)
Tips & Notes

  • To learn the no-knead method, please click here.
  • Incorporating two teaspons (5g) of red pepper flakes produces quite a kick. If you're a fan of say, mild salsa, you might want to back-off slightly or even considerably on the amount of red pepper you incorparate. One teaspoon or less should still give you some good flavor. No pepper at all will give you mere cheese bread, which, on its own, is still better than most anything else on earth.
  • Mix in the pepper flakes and cheese with the other dry ingredients (salt, flour, yeast). Add water when all ingredients are uniformly dispersed.
  • For this recipe, err on the side of less salt. The salt already in the cheese will make up for any you don't put in.
  • Bread with cheese (fat/oil) tends to brown sooner and burn faster than breads without. Ovens will vary, but if you're prone to bottom scorching (and let's be honest, who isn't?), try turning the heat down to 475 or even 450.
  • Still rather have fresh jalapenos? No problem. Simply substitute the red pepper flakes with two good-sized jalapenos, diced. I hear the peppers with the white lines are hotter than the rest, though I can't verify that myself.
  • Breadheads unite!
Smoked cheddar cubes

Just mixed

Pre-shape

Fin!

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