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in the ranger kitchen {3}, and cheez-it bread

We are going on day three of dreary, cold rain, which if I remember correctly is the same bizarre weather we had last year at the start of June. I’m just going to pretend it’s a weird anomaly and not a trend. The good thing about being cooped up inside is that it gives me lots of time to make bread, yogurt, and other recipes that require time and patience.

I made homemade cheez-its again today and eating them reminded me of a bread I made last fall. Since it feels like fall again, I thought it was a good day to break out this recipe again. Today I present to you: cheez-it bread! It’s technically called pumpkin cheese bread, but the spice and cheese combination gives it a cheez-it like taste, and apart from the rich color and moist texture, you can’t really detect the pumpkin at all. This recipe originally came from my go-to source for seasonal recipes, The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Cookbook, and I adapted it to our style of baking.

pumpkin cheese bread

2 c. white whole wheat flour
1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading
1 Tbs. light brown sugar
1 envelope (2 1/4 tsp.) rapid-rise yeast
1 1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper (you can up this to 1/4 tsp. if you like a big kick–we do)
1 c. warm water
3/4 c. pumpkin puree
1 c. (4 oz.) sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
1 Tbs. butter
1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten w/ 1 tsp. water

Stir together flour, sugar, yeast, salt, and pepper in a large glass or ceramic bowl (not metal). Add water, pumpkin, and cheese, and stir until it is combined and sticky. Leave it to rest for a few minutes while you clean out your bowl.

Knead the dough on a floured surface until it forms the tell-tale smooth ball that bounces back when poked, at least five minutes. Add a bit of flour to your (now clean and dry) bowl, and coat the dough in flour. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator overnight or at least eight hours.

Remove dough from the fridge and shape into a rectangle, then roll it like a burrito. Coat a 9 x 5″ loaf pan with butter and add the dough, seam-side down. Cover it with a tea towel and let it rise in a warm place for about an hour and a half, or until it’s about twice its original size.

While the dough is rising, preheat oven to 375 degF. Make a 1/4″ cut down the center of the loaf, then brush it with the egg wash. Bake it for approximately 50 minutes. If you aren’t sure it’s done, you can turn it out and knock on the bottom; it should make a hollow sound. Let the bread sit out of the loaf pan on a cooling rack; if you like a soft crust, wrap the loaf in a tea towel. I prefer a hard crust to dip in my lentil soup. Serve with loads of butter. Happy eating!

Check out a few of the other dishes we’ve been making lately. You’ll notice below that I’m on a grits-eating, five-spice flavoring, bandana-napkin-wearing kick.

Five-Spice Beet Soup

Avocado over cilantro-mint tabbouleh

American parfait with dried kiwi, apricot, pineapple, and cranberries
(note:I took half of the dried fruit off after this pic…a bit overzealous)

Five-spice pork spare ribs with stone ground white grits (TJ’s!)
Spaghetti alla carbonara with crudite (baby carrots, celery, snow peas)

Pork chops with prunes and cream, broccoli, grits, fave wine (Casal Garcia vinho verde)

local kitchen hashbrowns with roasted cumin, smoked paprika, and herbed goat cheese

Grill night! Pork kabobs (recipe soon), hot & bell peppers, eggplant, corn

Editor’s note: This post is part of Monday ManiaScratch Cookin’ Tuesday, Real Food Wednesday,Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways, Simple Lives Thursday, and DIY Friday