Spam, it's pink and its oval,
Spam, I buy it at the Mobil,
Spam, it's made in Chernobyl,
And I love it anyway.
So after thinking long and hard about how I was going to prepare this I finally decided I was going to dice into a fairly large dice and roast in the oven @ 450 F until it was nicely browned and had rendered out a good amount of fat.
As usual I started with my mise and got the sponge going. Unlike the other formulas in the book, for this one I just followed it closely (other than the meat and cheese) and I was amazed by the amount of yeast. A whole tablespoon/.33 oz (and I also used ounces this time rather than the logically superior metrics I usually use) ?!?!?!?
My second biggest dilemma was deciding on what type of cheese to use. The obvious choice with Spam would have been Velveeta, but I couldn't go there. So I settled on that most American of cheeses Kraft Cracker Barrel white cheddar. Also, rather than grating it I went with a small dice to leave nice chunks of cheese in the crumb. I didn't want to turn the bread orange, and just because I used Spam doesn't mean it didn't deserve some respect. I let the sponge get nice and bubbly for an hour and then mixed up the dough and let it rest for 10 minutes. I then slowly mixed in the butter in four additions and mixed it for around the 12 minutes the book calls for and I was able to achieve a really nice windowpane.
Once I had my windowpane I tried mixing in the meat and then the cheese in the machine, but it just wasn't cooperating so I dumped it onto the counter and mixed by hand until I got a nice even distribution.
I greased the bowl and let it rise for about two hours (with a small interruption from the contractors I'm dealing with in the whole basement finishing we are in the middle of).
After it rose I measured the whole mass and determined I had about 1400 grams of dough so I measured two halves around 700 grams each and divided each into six pieces about 115 grams, give or take a few, and lined them up six each in a loaf pan as I had done for my brioche.
I let them proof in the pan for about an hour and a half (the temperature in my kitchen was PERFECT today) and I set the oven to 350F. I also baked some plain hamburger and hot dog buns today so my oven was already preheated. I baked them for 20 minutes and when I went to rotate them I baked them an additional 15. At that point they were perfectly browned and were right at 190 F.
I couldn't wait to cut into them and they cooled for maybe five minutes before I lost all willpower and made my first cut. Amazing! I may or may not do this bread again, but I have to say I loved it. I think I felt my heart stop for a minute after my third slice, but I made sure to take one of the loaves to my parents so I wouldn't gain everything back I've lost since the first of the year. The crumb on this bread was fantastic. I actually may make it again at Xmas time as my family is not really a raisin and dried fruit eating bunch, but it will definitely be a while. And for those of you who haven't made this one yet, I double dog dare you to try it with Spam! Or maybe chipped beef. S**t in a shingle!