Kadeh (Kurdish Jewish Cheese Bread)
Hailing from the ancient Kurdish Jewish community, kadeh is a traditional, leavened bread filled with either meat or cheese. For me, making any bread is a labor of love. For others, it might be just a laborious task. I do not mind the time and work because I adore fresh, home-baked bread. When filled with cheese, kadeh is perfect for a Shavuot dairy meal. Enjoy it for breakfast alongside soup or salad or simply on its own. Cheese-filled kadeh can also include other savory fillings, such as sautéed mushrooms or strips of sun-dried tomatoes. Or, if you have a sweet tooth, fill it with a chocolate spread or chocolate chips and nuts. You may bake as a thin, flat bread, brushed with melted butter and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.
- 2 pounds all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 3 packets yeast (¾ ounce or 7 grams)
- 2 teaspoons coarse salt
- 2½ cups warm water
- ½ cup olive oil
- Flour for dusting
- 8 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (Bulgarian, if you can find it; if not, you may need to add a bit of salt)
- 8 ounces Gouda cheese, grated
- Place flour in a bowl of a stand mixer, make a well in the middle and add sugar and yeast. Pour 1 cup of the water onto the yeast and let stand for 5 minutes until it froths. Add salt, remaining 1½ cups water and olive oil, mix on low speed to combine. Increase speed to medium and mix for 10 minutes, scraping down hook and sides of bowl with a spatula as necessary. The dough will be a bit soft and tacky.
- Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl and turn the dough so it is lightly coated with oil as well. Cover and place in a warm, draft-free area to rise for 45 minutes, or until it doubles in size. Meanwhile, mix the cheeses in a small bowl and dust a baking sheet or tray with flour. Divide the dough into 16 equal pieces; shape each into a ball and place on the dusted sheet and let rise for another 45 minutes in a warm, draft-free area.
- Dust your work surface with flour. Place one dough portion on the floured surface and pat with your fingers to flatten into a 5-inch circle. Place 2 tablespoons of the cheese filling in the middle, gather the edges to the center over the filling and pinch to seal. Flatten by patting down with your hands into a 5- to 6-inch round. You may use a rolling pin. Cook in a hot iron skillet or griddle on the stovetop for about three minutes on each side. Keep the flame on medium so you do not scorch the bread. While the bread is cooking, shape the remaining balls into rounds. Alternatively, you may bake in a preheated 450-degree oven for a few minutes on each side, turning halfway through. Serve warm.
- Dough may be prepared and put in the refrigerator overnight for first rise. Take out when ready to continue, gently deflate the dough and let stand to rise again and then proceed.
- If your kitchen is drafty and you want the dough to rise faster, you can create a warm box by putting the dough in a cold oven or microwave and placing a cup of just boiled water next to the dough or on the shelf underneath, closing the dough and letting it rise inside for a while.
- To freeze the bread, cool after baking and wrap with aluminum foil and then with plastic wrap. When ready to use, thaw on the countertop. Unwrap and reheat in 350-degree oven for 8 minutes. It will be like fresh.