Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Cheese-Stuffed Crusty Loaves

Oh Lordy. Three months ago, when I first saw this picture, I knew I had to make this delicious, delightful, amazing recipe. I love bread, and I love cheese. This is like my dream bread. I did several foolish things while attempting to make this, but since it's not my first time making bread, I figured I could goof and fudge a little here and there and it'd still turn out alright. I think I made my decisions wisely.

You will need:
Two cups of your favorite cheese, shredded (I used sharp cheddar)

In a small bowl (larger than a cereal bowl, but smaller than a medium mixing bowl), combine one and one-quarter cups of unbleached bread flour (or unbleached all-purpose white), one teaspoon of salt, and half a teaspoon of yeast. (The recipe called for instant, but all I had was active dry, and I didn't think it made any difference at all.) Then add half a cup of water and mix until everything in incorporated and it looks like this:

I actually had to use more than a half-cup of water, so feel free to use as much as you need. The point is that you don't want your dough to end up watery, so err on the side of too dry and add slowly until you get it right. Then cover your bowl and let it sit overnight. In the morning, it'll look something like this:

Dump the starter into a medium or large mixing bowl, and add three cups of flour, a teaspoon of salt, half a teaspoon of yeast, and a cup of water (again, I had to use more water). Mix until incorporated, and then knead the dough by hand or in a mixer until smooth. Like this:

Cover and let rise for two hours. It'll roughly double in size.

Spread it out into a rectangle, roughly 9x13.

Liberally apply your cheese.

Roll up along the long edge, and pinch the seam to seal it (I also pinched my ends to seal them). Cover and let rise for another hour to an hour and a half.

Slice your loaf into four parts and arrange on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Also, you should probably spray or flour the parchment. These suckers are sticky.

Arrange your loaves thusly, preheat to 425F, and bake for about twenty minutes.

Then, dig in. It's too good for words.

Now, if you're like me and you scheduled a pedicure in the middle of your rise time, do yourself a favor and do like so: Let your dough rise for an hour, and then stick it in the fridge. When you come back, pull it out, put it in a warm location, and let it rise for another two hours, or until it's doubled from its original size. Then squash it into a rectangle and proceed as normal.

The boring stuff:
Makes four mini loaves.
Difficulty: 2.
Takes about four and a half hours, including prep and bake time.

Postscript: These end up being really too big to eat in a single serving, so next time I make them, I think I'll cut it into eight pieces instead of four. Also, they don't last at all. Mine went moldy in about five days, which is a third as long as my bread lasts. So...make more smaller ones, eat quickly, and freeze the leftovers. But still....SO good.

1 comment:

Ellen said...

Are you KIDDING me with the deliciousness?