Who loves cheese? And spinach? And roasted red peppers? And bread?
Hopefully you said "YES" to all of these questions!
If you did, do I have a GREAT surprise (well not really a surprise since you've already seen the photos...but oh well!)
Roasted Red Pepper Loaf!
It combines spinach (doesn't add much flavor, but a whoooole lotta moistness), roasted red peppers (which add a great bite), and mozzarella (sooo much depth!) with bread-and really what about bread is bad?
Nothing. That's what.
So-onto the recipe!
3 1/4 cup flour
1/3 cup mozzarella
5 oz. cooked spinach
1/2 cups lukewarm water
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
2 bell peppers (roasted)
1 tsp. sugar (or the equivalence)
1. Proof yeast - add 1 pkg. (2 1/4 tsp.) fast acting (aka quick rise) yeast to 1/2 cup warm water. Let sit a few minutes - if bubbles form, your yeast is good to go!
2. In the meantime... you can get started prepping your lovely bread add-ins.
(these may seem quite lengthy and not worth the hassle...but believe me-when you bite into a warm, soft and moist piece of this bread, you will be glad you went through the 'trouble')
-For the spinach: if you do not buy the frozen pre-cooked and shredded kind you will need to do this yourself. For fresh spinach leaves: bring water to a boil and throw in a handful of salt to flavor it. As this is heating-get a bowl of ice water ready. Toss in your 5 oz. of spinach (usually 1/2 a bag of spinach leaves) and allow the spinach to cook for 1-2 minutes. When the spinach becomes a bright green, it's done! As soon as it is done boiling, remove spinach leaves and place in ice water. After a few minutes here, drain, squeeze out ALL the water you possibly can and run a knife through the spinach a few times-or run through a food processor.
-For the roasted peppers: Take 2 bell peppers (or any peppers, bell will provide a nice sweet flavor with a little bite!) wash them, and cut in half. Remove any seeds and the stem. Place skin side up on a baking sheet. Broil them in the oven on your highest setting (I had mine at 500*F) for a few minutes - they are done with the skin becomes blackened. Don't worry-you haven't burned them-this was suppose to happen! Remove immediately and place in a plastic bag, seal the bag and wait.... After about 10-20 minutes, you can remove the peppers from the bag, and the blackened skin should peel right off! Now all you have to do is chop the peppers into small pieces and you're done!
-For the cheese: remove from bag, measure out 1/3 cup, call it a day!
3. After add-ins are ready and yeast is proofed, you will mix the add-ins into the water/yeast mixture and stir well.
4. Add to a stand mixer (or larger bowl) and add in the sugar and salt
5. Slowly begin adding your flour. Knead for 6-8 minutes (4-6 with a stand mixing doing the kneading)
6. Dough will be slightly wet to the touch
7. Place in a greased bowl and cover with a dry kitchen towel. Allow to rise until doubled - about 1-2 hours.
8. (If making an Artesian style loaf-if not, skip to the last half of step 9) Place a oven stone into an oven and set to 450*F. Place a cookie sheet on the lowest rack in oven as well.
9. When doubled, remove from bowl and shape into loaf - I made mine into a Artesian style loaf by forming a large ball and cutting an 'X' slit in the top. I then topped with more mozzarella cheese. But, if you'd rather-you can just form into a 9x5 loaf and place in a greased and floured loaf pan. Let this loaf rise 10-20 minutes.
...add cheese if you'd like! -and really, c'mon-who wouldn't like?!
10. Remove your oven stone from the oven and gently slide loaf onto its center.
11. Pour 1 cup water onto the cookie sheet in oven. Place your oven stone with bread back into the oven.
12. Let bake 30-40 minutes - crust will have a dark, golden color.
13. Remove from oven and remove from oven stone immediately - transfer to a cooling rack. Let cool before slicing.