Recently I met Don Guerra, the baker from Barrio Breads in Tuscon, Arizona. Talking bread, and seeing his cheese and chili creations, inspired me. So I decided to add masa harina to a formula I adapted from Amy's Bread. It's her signature semolina raisin and fennel.
Masa harina is a slaked lime processed flour usually used for tortilla and tamales. I decided add chilies, cheese and some lard. When I smelled the dough, it had the familar scent of tortillas. I mixed the masa harina with water as if making tamale dough. In hindsight, I might of whipped in the lard to lighten the masa, as it was a bit dry and needed a bit more mixing. All in all, this was a nice dough, silky and exstensible. And the ancho chilies weren't spicy. The chilies gave a deep color and smokey taste, and the lard enhanced the richness. As I didn't have any Jack cheese, I used a Vermont cheddar. It gave nice caramelized crust on top and was well riddled throughout the crumb.