If you’re looking for the answers
to your sandwich prayers, I assure you this is it. Okay, so it’s
probably not a great combo for your PB&J, but your panini will
definitely make a quantum leap up the yum scale from delicious to
1 3/4 cups whole milk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tablespoons sugar
1 (1/4-ounce) package instant dry yeast
4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading
Vegetable oil or nonstick cooking spray, as needed
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 cup Sriracha
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, warm the milk,
butter, and sugar, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat as soon
as the butter melts. The liquid should be lukewarm to the touch, around
100°F. Allow it to cool to that temperature if necessary. Sprinkle the
yeast over the milk mixture and let sit for 10 minutes to proof. After
about 10 minutes, there should be a layer of froth on the surface of the
mixture, which signifies that the yeast is viable and ready to
sacrifice its own life in the name of good bread.
In a large bowl, mix together the flour and salt. Pour
the milk and yeast mixture into the bowl of flour and mix with a wooden
spoon until a soft, ragged mixture is formed. Transfer the dough to a
well-floured work surface and knead for 1 minute. Transfer the dough to a
lightly oiled bowl, cover with a kitchen towel, and allow it to rest,
undisturbed for 20 minutes.
After its rest, turn the dough back out onto the
well-floured work surface and knead until a soft, elastic dough results,
3 to 5 minutes. Transfer the dough once more to the lightly oiled bowl,
cover, and allow it to rest in a warm area of the house until doubled
in size, about 2 hours.
Transfer the dough to the work surface and, using your
hands, gently flatten into a 9-inch-wide rectangle. Spread the Sriracha
over the dough, leaving a 1-inch border around the outside edges free of
Sriracha. Sprinkle the cheese evenly over the Sriracha, respecting the
same border. It is this border that allows the dough to seal properly in
the next step.
Roll the dough up tightly, lengthwise, similar to making
a jelly roll. Press down on the last roll to seal and make a seam.
Lightly oil a 9 by 5-inch loaf pan. Put the dough, seam side down, into
the pan. Cover and return to the warm spot until the dough has again
doubled in size and is cresting over the top of the pan, 2 to 2 1/2
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Just before baking, make a
1/4-inch-deep slit down the center of the loaf using a serrated knife.
Place the loaf pan on the center rack of the oven. Spray the inside
walls of the oven and the top of the loaf with a generous misting of
water to create steam. Quickly close the oven door and bake for 30
minutes. Remove the loaf from the pan and continue baking for an
additional 10 to 15 minutes. The center of the loaf should register
190°F on a thermometer and the bottom of the loaf should sound hollow
when tapped. Let the bread cool completely on a cooling rack before
slicing for best results. Store refrigerated in an airtight container
for up to 3 days.
IN A PINCH
Use a 1-pound ball of fresh pizza dough or defrosted
frozen pizza dough, available at some specialty supermarkets and
friendly neighborhood pizzerias. Allow the dough to come to room
temperature and flatten the dough into the 9-inch-wide rectangle,
proceeding as directed with Sriracha and cheese, allowing the dough to
rise and then baking as directed.