Cheesy Mustard Pull-Apart Loaf

developed and contributed by Maureen Gualtieri

Now that Fall is decidedly here, it’s finally reasonable to fire up the oven and do some baking! I’ve been really into this easy pull-apart loaf— a few pantry-based ingredients and a modest rising time mean you’re this close to a fresh, warm bread, full of stretchy satisfying cheese, to accompany that chili or soup you batch-cooked on the weekend. We used DFC’s Original Hot & Seedy mustard, but you can throw in whichever variety you have. You can play around with the types of cheeses and aromatics too—I think a Gruyère  and some finely diced shallots would be amazing to try! However your creation comes together, we can all agree that life is better with cheesy bread in it, even as—or especially because— the temperature drops.

Cheesy Mustard Pull-Apart Loaf

(Yield: 8 servings)

1 1/2 c. (375 ml) water, warmed to 110 degrees F

1/2 tsp (2 g) sugar

1 tsp (4 g) instant yeast

3 3/4 c. (590 g) all-purpose flour

2 tsp (4g) kosher salt

2 tbsp (20 ml) olive oil

1/4 c. (55 g) butter, melted

1/4 c. (20 g) green onion, finely minced

1/3 c. (85 g) mozzarella cheese, grated

1/2 c. (175 g) sharp cheddar, grated

1.5 tbsp (30 g) DFC’s Original Hot & Seedy mustard

a few good cranks of fresh black pepper

In the bowl of your stand mixer, dissolve the sugar and yeast in the warm water, and allow to sit until it gets foamy, about 5 minutes. Then, add the flour, salt, and olive oil (making sure the salt doesn’t contact the foamy yeast directly), and mix with your dough hook on medium for about 5 minutes. (If going the old-fashioned way, mix the flour/salt/oil in with a wooden spoon, then tip out onto a floured surface and knead for 8 – 10 minutes.) Once the dough has come together and is soft and elastic (but not sticky), place in an oiled bowl and cover. Let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 45 minutes.

While your dough rises, let’s work on the best part!: Combine your melted butter, green onion, black pepper, and DFC’s Hot & Seedy mustard in a small bowl, and stir well. Grate your cheeses (if it’s not already grated), and toss the two of them together in another bowl until they are well mixed. Set aside. Grab a tall-sided pan, like a springform, and line it with parchment paper.

Once your dough is nicely risen, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F, and set the rack in the middle. Punch your dough down, then pinch the whole thing in half, then each piece in half, then in half again…. to get a total of 16 evenly sized balls. Roll each ball into a snake about the length of your hand, tie it in a knot, dip it in the butter/mustard mixture, and place in your prepared springform. Repeat with seven more balls, placing them evenly over the bottom of the pan. Top this layer with about half the cheese mixture, sprinkled evenly over. Then, layer the rest of the dough knots on top, following the same procedure, nestling them in the gaps in the first layer. Drizzle on any leftover butter mixture, and top with the rest of the cheese.

Spritz your tower of buttery goodness with a bit of water, then slide into the oven and bake for 40 minutes. (You might want to put a pan underneath it, just in case any butter escapes.) The bread will be done when you tap a the top of it and it sounds hollow. Let the loaf cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then remove and serve warm. Your guests can tear knots out to their hearts’ content—and dip them in butternut squash soup, or chili, or just eat them straight!

You’re on your way to glory with the following ingredients: Flour, sugar, salt, yeast, olive oil, black pepper, mozzarella and cheddar cheeses, a green onion, butter, and DFC’s Hot & Seedy mustard.
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