Madison, Wisconsin: Home of Bucky, State Street, Ella's Deli, and the Wisconsin Capital. Aside from being known for these things, it is also home to a pretty stellar Farmers Market.
One of the highlights at that Farmer's Market, most attendees would agree, is Stella's Bakery's Hot & Spicy Cheese Bread. Many people buy it and it never makes it home - no, instead they munch down on the hot loaves while perusing the rest of the market. The bread is a basic white, but with molten chunks of spicy cheese inside. Amazing, best treat ever I would imagine.
I have never had it myself, but from what I hear it is not to be missed. I've been thinking about this odd little loaf of bread a lot lately because, well, for one I always miss my home state and these things creep into my little brain. But for another, I've been terribly excited that our own town's Farmers Market has fired up finally. Farmers Market + some random image of home relating to Farmers Markets = cheese bread. Get it? They don't have the fancy cheese bread at our Farmers Market, unfortunately. But hey, why not give it a shot at home, right?
The recipe I used as a base for this can be found here, it's a basic Amish sweet bread. It's a good basic bread recipe, and very easy to follow. The original recipe linked actually makes a very sweet bread, almost like the Hawaiian Sweet Bread you can buy in grocery stores. But: I wanted less sweet and more cheese (CHEESE!), so I made several changes. Less sugar, more kneading, a bit more rising time, and the cheese (which I chunked rather than shredded, so that the chunks would still be visible and tasty in the finished loaf instead of melting into the dough).
I think it turned out quite well. Hubs and I tore into it while it was still hot, and I like to think it had many of the same characteristics I've heard about Stella's cheese bread: warm, soft bread with gooey chunks of melted cheese studded throughout. Yum! So if you want a bit of a treat, I recommend you give this a shot. Or fly into Madison to hit up their Farmers Market on a Saturday morning, I guess there's that option too...
1 1/2 Tbsp. active dry yeast
1 1/2 tsp. salt 1/4 c. vegetable oil 6 c. bread flour, sifted