First of all, let me tell you, fellow cheese freaks – you need to make this bread.
You need to make it because it turns out gorgeous, because it takes so very little effort, and because it tastes so incredibly cheesy, it borders on being hard to describe. I’ll try though! Have you ever bought that pretty loaf of “cheese bread” in the bakery, and then were disappointed when only the cheese-sprinkled crust tasted of cheese at all? I know I have. And this, in all its oozy cheesiness, this tastes like – and thus is! – the remedy for all your cheese bread disappointments. This bread is moist, and has a beautifully open crumb with some shiny set-melted-cheese slicks in it, and is smells rich and wonderful and tastes as cheesy as I could have wished it to.
The sourdough base with a bit of wholemeal rye mixed in adds both a good sour edge and a wholesome earthiness to the flavor, and the chewy, glossy-pored texture is satisfying in the sense of you not actually needing to eat half the loaf to sate the cheese craving (hey, that’s a great way to deal with desire to snack on cheesy snacks otherwise!). And to make it more of all the good things I love, I tossed in just a touch of garlic, too! Now, do you feel the need to make it? I sincerely do hope so!
The making, and specifically the putting-together method of this bread was inspired by something I had seen on the net somewhere, and, to my utter dismay and frustration, have failed to bookmark – which subsequently ended up with me being unable to find where I had seen the recipe and photos that prompted the making of this. I looked and looked and found tons of different cheese bread recipes, but not the one I had wanted. So, the credit for the idea goes to you, unknown blogger – and if someone recognizes the idea from someplace else, please do let me know so that I can credit the blogger for his or her idea.
The dough for this bread is a sourdough with about 1/4 wholemeal rye to 3/4 white bread (high-protein) flour, prepared by the no-knead method (see detailed instructions here). Which is, in short – I mix the ingredients, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, leave overnight at room temperature (fairly warm, Swedish room temperature – I suspect it is 19-22C in my kitchen at night), then shred my cheese and proceed to the very easy prep and proof. And then I transfer the whole thing on a piece of baking parchment into a preheated Dutch Oven and bake it. But, first things first!
Ingredients: (makes one loaf)
- ~50g live sourdough starter (I use 100% hydration) fed with some rye and some wheat flour in the past 48 hours.
- 120g wholemeal rye flour
- 360g white bread flour
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons garlic granules or powder (this is entirely optional but I recommend it. If you like garlic, I heartily recommend it. If you worry about it, no it does not give it a heavy garlic scent at all – more like a gentle hint of it in the finished product. If you still worry, replace this with a favorite seasoning of your choice.)
- 350ml cold tap water
- ~2.5dl (1 cup) coarsely shredded cheese of your choice (I used a mix of aged cheeses but this is really up to what floats your cheese boat).
- Mix all dry ingredients other than cheese and whisk to combine. Mix water and sourdough starter in another bowl and whisk to combine.
- Mix the liquid into the flour mixture with a wooden spoon until all flour is more or less incorporated – the dough will be shaggy and somewhat sticky, and grey in color (rye flour tends to do that, don’t worry, it’ll bake up beautiful!).
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap (clingfilm) and leave overnight in your kitchen.
- The next day, flour a board thoroughly and scrape the soft dough out on it. Flour your hands as well and gently stretch it out using your hands into a rough rectangle. The dough should be very relaxed and not resist at this point, so it should be fairly easy.
- Take your shredded cheese and sprinkle it all over the rectangle, as evenly as you want to bother with. Just, you know, avoid dumping it all in a sticky clump onto the middle of the dough, and it’ll be fine.
- Roll the rectangle along the short edge to make a short stubby roll. (Yes, I’ve rotated it in this photo after rolling!) Cut the roll into three pieces and place them on a piece of baking parchment cut sides down to make a lumpy loaf.
- Flour a piece of cling film and cover the loaf with it (floured-side down) and then with a kitchen towel, and leave to proof for 1-1.5 hours (this may take longer if your kitchen is not very warm and depending on how lively your starter is), until it is somewhat puffed up. Because of its shape, the loaf won’t quite double in volume, but the rise will be visible.
- While the bread is proofing, preheat your oven to 220C with the Dutch oven inside.
- Once bread is ready to bake, remove Dutch oven from the oven, open lid, (be careful, it will be bloody searing hot!), and carefully place the bread into the Dutch oven holding it by the baking parchment edges. If you drop it a few centimeters, it will do it no harm.
- Cover Dutch oven, and bake for 20 min at 220C covered. After the 20 minutes, remove lid and lower temperature to 190C and bake uncovered for another 20-25 minutes until the top is properly browned.
- Remove (carefully!) from Dutch oven – I usually stand it on a sturdy foot stool covered with a terry towel I do not mind singing for this – and cool on the rack for 2 hours or until cooled completely before cutting.
- Once cooled and cut, wrap the cut end in aluminium foil. The bread will keep for a few days without drying out – if it lasts long enough to be around. I cannot say with any certainty that it would last for longer than 3 days because after that it was just gone.
Rejoyce in your cheese satisfaction! This is one of the best ever breads to have to vegetable soup in my opinion – the earthy flavor, the substantial texture and the glorious flavor of cheese works great without any need to butter the slices – but you do as you wish, for that is between you and your cheese addiction. Because *cough* it’s not like I have sliced thick slices of it just to have alongside a cup of tea or anything…
In hindsight, I may try to make an even fatter roll and only slice it in half to see how that works to make a shorter and thicker loaf, but that is more a matter of curiosity than a necessary instruction, and it may well not turn out any better than this in the end. And the slices were still a good size, especially if slicing slightly on the diagonal as I did.
Submitted to Yeastspotting.