Now who can resist cheesy bread? And when it introduces itself as the romantic sounding ‘Pan de Queso’, rather than Cheesy Rings, it’s hard to refuse.
This recipe comes from one of my favourite cookbooks, Warm Bread and Honey Cake by Gaitri Pagrach-Chandra; she, of those wonderful Chocolate Hazelnut Rolls. Everything I have baked out of this book has been, firstly, delicious, and secondly, educational. I think perhaps I identify with her scattered roots. And she has certainly put her vast culinary experiences to good use in this detailed, well- written book.
Pan de Queso calls for no deft handedness , but it will demand your patience. I think the author deliberately keeps the amount of yeast down, and particularly in this case, since you don’t want a strong yeast flavour battering the cheese one. Which means a longer rise time. I tend to heat the oven at the lowest setting it starts up at, and put the bowl in there, where it can sit in peace and quiet until it puffs up. Certainly works for me. This dough took around two and a half hours to come to a point that I was happy with. After that, incorporate the parmesan, roll and shape and bake.
The result is a slightly crisp skinned bread ring, with a fluffy, light texture inside and real good cheese flavour coming through. Here, I used parmesan but any strong hard cheese, like Grano Padano would be good. If you make them smaller, they will be the perfect carb component in a lunch box, for the young and old alike. The kids certainly went at them with gusto and that should be considered recommendation enough!