The Farmer’s Market is one of my absolute favorite things about Madison. Saturdays in summer, I’d go to the Capitol Square with $25 and come home with bags of fresh, local, beautifully grown veggies, fruit, flowers, pastries, and other goodies. What could be better?! I love that everyone is so eager to be supporting local farmers and businesses. It’s one of the things that make Madison a truly special city! And just think, all of the restaurants on the Square can just walk out their doors on Saturday and buy all of their produce for the week. Amazing.
Surely, I’ll go into more detail in Spring when the outdoor market returns. I could go on for days. Well, it’s something to look forward to through a Wisconsin winter!
Anyone who’s been to the Madison Farmer’s Market knows that Spicy Cheese Bread is almost a mandatory purchase. People come from near and far for this stuff, lining up for a warm loaf, which must weigh about 3 pounds with all the glorious cheese in it.
(Dietitian disclaimer: I wouldn’t recommend eating this stuff every Saturday. Holy calories and fat! Whoo!)
And, usually, it never even makes it home! A perfect treat, pulling pieces off bit by bit while walking once around the square, and before you know it, it’s nearly gone.
Of course, if you’re not near Madison, you can buy it for $8 a loaf plus $10 shipping from Stella’s Bakery. But, I thought I’d give it a shot (for probably quite a bit less than $18)!
I adapted my recipe from a “pull-apart” bread recipe, which gives it the lovely doughy texture, and is easy to rip off in pieces.
One packet (2 ¼ tsp.) Red Star Instant Yeast (+ 1/4 cup warm water, sugar, per directions on packet)
3 -4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 black pepper
2 tsp Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp crushed red pepper
1 Tbsp olive oil
About 1 cup water
Provolone and Monterey Jack cheeses, cubed
Olive oil, Red pepper flakes (required!), parmesan and romano cheeses, Italian seasoning (optional)
Mix yeast and water in a bowl, following the directions on the yeast packet (using warm water, and a pinch of sugar). Let sit for 5 minutes. Add 3 cups flour and about half the water and mix until combined. (If you have a stand mixer, mix on low.) Add the rest of the ingredients except the cheese. You can add a little bit more water at a time to get it to all stick together, until dough is a little sticky and soft.
Knead dough ball on a floured breadboard with your hands for 5 minutes, or on medium-low on a mixer. Fold in cheese cubes while kneading, and extra red pepper flakes if you want. Below is how much cubed cheese I used. Dare I say, I’d use more next time!
Place dough ball in a bowl, cover with a towel and let rise for about 2 hours. It should double in size during this time.
Transfer dough into a round cake pan, greased. It’s going to be pretty puffy, so it’s ok if you pat it down into a ball a little. Then, let rise again for about another hour.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees in the meantime.
Brush top with olive oil, and sprinkle some parmesan and romano cheeses, a little Italian seasoning, and a bunch of red pepper flakes on top.
Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown on the outside. Eat it while it’s warm and gooey!