Fresh out of the oven, I can’t begin to describe how fantastic this bread smells
Nearly three months ago I came across this decadent recipe for Chubble (cheddar bubble) Bread. It’s a pull-apart bread chock full of herbs, spices, and cheese. Lots of cheese.
As a kid, when I would take road trips with my grandmother, Doe, between her house in Marin and my house in Santa Barbara, we’d always (almost compulsively so) stop at the garishly pink Madonna Inn right off the highway (worth the trip to the bathrooms alone, since the men’s urinal is a waterfall, and in the women’s, there is a tiny pink toilet perfect height for a 4 year old). It was clean, safe (does the assault on the eyes count?) and we could get a loaf (or two) of sticky delectable cinnamon monkey bread. It was such a treat, and Doe was indulgent, so the two of us would devour the whole loaf…before we got to the next town.
So, when I saw Mrs. Marv’s Chubble Bread, it looked delicious, but I didn’t realize until I actually made it, that it was a savory version of my beloved childhood monkey bread. Obviously there is room for sweet tweaks to the recipe in the future. I had been dreaming about chubble bread for months, but when Jennifer the Baklava Queen inspired me with a post on homemade bread, and kindly offered to help me get through any bumps along the way, and I finally committed to start with chubble (it would taste good no matter what, with all the flavors).
I made a few adjustments, that I’ll tell you about, but her original recipe is quite straightforward, so I don’t need to repost it here. It is a bit labor intensive, and took the whole day, but was so utterly delicious, I highly recommend it. I started at about 12:45pm (on a rainy Sunday afternoon) and with all the rises in between and baking, we sat down to dinner at about 6:30. So you can take that rough time line into account if you make it. The baking bread permeated the whole house with an aroma so sensational, I decided that it’s what heaven/nirvana/paradise (insert your preferred otherworldly term) smells like. I served the chubble bread with a simple pureed vegetable soup, since the bread really was the star of the show.
These are the adjustments I made, or would make in the future, and of course used as many local/sustainable/organic ingredients as I could.
My adjustmens to Mrs. Marv’s Chubble Bread
For a couple weeks, the household has been mesmerized by a spectacular applewood smoked cheddar with a smoked paprika rind, so that just had to go in the bread. Being vegetarian, it’s a little disconcerting (and bordering on scandalous) that the flavor was quite similar to bacon.
I didn’t have any green onions, so since everything tastes better with caramelized onion, I diced up two of them and got them reducing in a pan while I assembled the rest of the herb and cheese stuffs. Because I used olive oil to saute the onions, I reduced the oil in the stuffs at the end to 1 tablespoon.
Mrs. Marv called for processed Parmesan in the…dare I speak it…nefarious green can. She contends it’s dried out and therefore necessary, but no powder masquerading as Parmesan shall cross my threshold. I used good grated Parmesan, with delicious results.
She recommended 2 to 2 1/2 teaspoons salt depending on the saltiness of your cheese. I used 2 teaspoons to be on the conservative side, and it was still to much. I don’t think my cheese was particularly salty, but I would really use no more than 1 1/2 tsp. next time. Also, I added some of the suggested salt to the onions while I caramelized them to help bring out the flavor.
I also added half of the red pepper flakes to the onions while they were sauteing, which brought out more heat into the oil. It was a little on the hot side for me, but may be just perfect for you.
Finally, when I baked them, I decided to fill muffin tins for (what ended up being) 20 individual servings. I didn’t listen to my instincts with the baking time, and went by her recommendation. She suggests 25-35 minutes, but I realized the next day that it was most likely intended for loaf size or cake pans. I checked on them at the peak of the delicious smell (20 minutes) but even though they looked done, I doubted myself and cooked them five minutes longer. Of course they would bake faster in muffin tins with the heat of the pans hitting more of the actual bread! So, they were a little over done, but still tasty. Live and learn.
Just seconds before going in the oven