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Kevin's Kitchen

By KEVIN FRISCH

SINCE I TOOK A BREAK from writing Kevin's Kitchen for a while, people figured that I must have fallen off the face of the earth. They started sending me recipes in the hope of either prompting me to write again or taking over my column.

Last week, I printed a recipe that Trina Arnett '91 sent me. This week's selection is from Wil Howitt G. It's a Swiss Cheese Casserole Bread.

Now, I had never made a cheese bread before, so I was a little apprehensive about the recipe. But as it turned out, the recipe was not only edible, but delicious. It's comforting to know that even something as simple and innocent as bread can be high in fat and cholesterol.

The only thing you have to be careful with is the cheese. Never skimp on the cheese by purchasing the store's generic brand. I bought Star Market brand Swiss cheese once and nearly choked when I tried it. There was no point in cooking with it. Better to spend the extra bucks at Bread and Circus or the Central Square Market (formerly the Cambridge Food Co-op) on good cheese than to buy the cheap stuff.

Howitt suggests making the bread with whole wheat flour. I normally eat whole wheat bread, pitas, and pasta, so this was no big deal for me. I made the recipe with about three-fourths whole wheat flour and one-fourth white flour. I recommend using a mixture like this for three reasons: First, whole wheat flour absorbs much more water, so your recipe may not turn out exactly right if you use nothing but whole wheat; second, breads made of nothing but whole wheat are very dense; and third, white flour is cheaper. But of course, making bread out of nothing but white flour is lame.

[el1l]

Swiss Cheese Casserole Bread

[el.5l]

1/2 cup dairy sour cream

1 package active dry yeast

1 cup warm water (105@#F-115@#F)

2 Tbls. sugar

2 Tbls. shortening

2 tsp. salt

3 cups flour

1 cup shredded Swiss cheese (4 oz.)

soft butter or margarine

[el.5l]

Heat sour cream over low heat just until lukewarm. Dissolve yeast in warm water in a large mixing bowl and allow the mixture to sit and foam for a few minutes. Add sour cream, sugar, shortening, salt, and two cups of the flour. Blend 30 seconds on low speed, scraping bowl constantly. Beat two minutes on medium speed, scraping bowl occasionally. (You can also beat by hand 300 strokes, but I think that's insane.) Stir in remaining flour and the cheese until smooth. Scrape batter from side of bowl. Cover and let rise in warm place until double, about 45 minutes.

Grease round layer pan, 9 x 11/2 inches. Stir down batter by beating about 25 strokes. Spread evenly in pan. Smooth top of loaf by patting with floured hand. Cover and let rise until double, about 40 minutes.

Heat oven to 375@#F. Bake until loaf sounds hollow when tapped, 45 minutes. Remove loaf from pan; brush top with butter. Cool on wire rack.

Good luck and good eating.

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(Please write to kevinf@athena if you have any comments or suggestions, or have a recipe that you would like to share. -- KF)