Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Artisan Ham and Cheese Bread

Last week I came across one of the most awesome looking bread recipes I've ever seen on the Noble Pig blog.  It was for an Artisan Bacon-Cheese Bread...and was seriously one of the most appealing pictures I've seen in a long time.  I couldn't wait to try it out!

I decided to change the recipe a bit and do a ham and cheese version, since I tend to prefer my pig in ham or tenderloin form instead of bacon.  I wish I could have bottled the smell of this bread baking.  Within the first 10 minutes, the entire house filled with the delicious aroma that had husband asking every 5 minutes if it was time to eat.  It smelled THAT good.

ham and cheese bread

Here's what you need

2 Tablespoons granulated yeast
3 cups lukewarm water
5.5 cups bread flour (plus more for dusting)
1.5 Tablespoons kosher salt
1 large (.75 lb) fully cooked ham steak, diced
8 ounce block extra sharp cheddar cheese (shred yourself)
1 Tablespoon butter
Yellow Cornmeal

The original recipe called for 10 slices thick cut bacon (diced), if you prefer to try that version.  Everything else is the same!

homemade bread recipe


In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water and stir with a wooden spoon.

homemade bread

Add flour and salt.  Mix with the wooden spoon until the mixture becomes too thick.  Then use your hands to fully wet the flour and salt.

bread recipe

Now prepare your fillings - shred the cheese and cut the ham steak into little chunks.

ham and cheese

ham and cheese

Toby especially enjoyed the "cut the ham" stage.  As soon as I opened the package, he knew what I had (what a nose...).  Ham is certainly in his "top 5 favorite foods".

Add the ham and cheese into the dough until it is fully combined.  Then cover the container with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel and set it in a warm place to rise for at least 3 hours.

bread rising

After 3 hours, place dough in the refrigerator overnight.  (This step just makes the dough less sticky and easier to work with, but it's not really necessary once you get the ham and cheese in it.  I'll probably skip this step next time.)

When you're ready to bake, place a metal baking pan (not glass) on the bottom rack of the oven filled with water.  This helps steam the bread and give it a nice crust.  Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.  (The water will heat up during the preheat.  Meanwhile butter the bottom of another 11x17 baking tray and sprinkle cornmeal over the butter.  This will prevent the bread from sticking.

Cover your hands with flour and divide the dough into two even loaves, shaping each into a ball.  Sprinkle the dough with flour and place on the baking tray, several inches apart.  Sprinkle each with a little more flour (it'll make your bread pretty!).  If you refrigerated your bread, let it rest on the baking tray for 30 minutes.  Right before placing bread in the oven, score the top of the bread with an "x" or any other pretty, decorative mark, cutting right through the dough.

baking bread

Bake for 30 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool 15 minutes before slicing.

Mine was not quite done after 30 minutes, so I cooked it 8-10 minutes longer, covered in foil so it didn't burn.  I thinkkkk my issue was that I didn't let it sit out long enough from fridge to oven, so it was still cold.  (oops)  Not a hard problem to fix tho.  :)

ham and cheese bread

cheesy bread

We decided to have a slice of the bread with tomato soup - it was like a grilled ham & cheese sandwich in one chunk!  Just look at that cheese!

tomato soup with cheesy bread

cheese ham bread


Make sure you check out all of the other recipes at the Noble Pig - it's a gem!


  1. Lauren, this looks awesome! Do you think it could work as little breads, like individual biscuits/rolls? I find myself at many breakfast buffets, and this savory treat might be a good addition to the usual muffins and cakes and sweet stuff. Thanks for all your thoughtful posts!
    Best--Cindy Cutlip

    1. That's what I'm going to try next time actually - individual rolls! I don't see why it wouldn't - just watch them in the oven!

    2. Lauren, delish! I tried them yesterday--nine 2x2" balls in an 8x8" pan, like rolls. The other half of the dough as mini individual breads. I think I preferred the mini breads...more crusty edges. Served it with tomato soup for dinner. I might add a honey glaze next time to add a little sweet to the savory taste. Thank you for sharing this amazing recipe, Lauren. I will definitely make it again! Cindy Cutlip

  2.  Hi, great post. I found you through the blog hop. Please stop  by and say hi when you get a chance.  .Be sure and check out my new Blog Hop that started. It's Weekly Goals Link Up. It's a great way to stay on track. Have a great day. :) Now following you.  Here's the link for it if you would like to check it out.
    http://lenettacarnes.blogspot.com/2013/01/weekly-goals-linkup-1.html Lenetta

  3. This bread sounds/looks amazing! I bet it would be really good for breakfast with eggs!

  4. Oh my gosh! Totally pinning!! Perfect for a cold night!