Sunday, May 18, 2008

Cheesy Bread Bakers & the Gruyere-Stuffed Crusty Bread

You know what's irresistible?

Homemade bread fresh from the oven, and stuffed with ooey-gooey melted cheese.

How do I know this? Because the Cheesy Bread Bakers -- Helen, Ivonne, Kelly, Lisa, Mary, Sara, Stephanie and me -- gave the French Pastry School’s Gruyère-Stuffed Crusty Loaves recipe (found by Mary on the King Arthur Flour blog) a go last weekend. (Go look and see how beautifully their loaves turned out!)

We were not disappointed. This is a bread you have to tear into as soon as it comes out of the oven because it looks and smells so wondrous. First-degree cheese burns are but a small obstacle to overcome in the pursuit of deliciousness. Shane, Jenny and I ate our way through two "mini" loves (which were, by no means, actually mini) in under 10 minutes. I sent one loaf home with Jen and the final loaf will be devoured tonight at dinner.

I am so glad I got to bake in tandem (via skype) with these talented bakers; not only did I get to bake a fantastic bread and pick up some baking tips, I got to know these lovely, caring, kind and talented women a bit better. Yay food bloggers and yay cheesy bread!

Gruyère-Stuffed Crusty Loaves (click here for step-by-step photos)

1 1/4 cups (5 1/4 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
1/2 cup (4 ounces) cool water

all of the starter
1 cup + 2 tablespoons (9 ounces) to 1 1/4 cups (10 ounces) lukewarm water*
1 teaspoon salt
3 1/2 cups (14 3/4 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour
1/2 teaspoon instant yeast

*Use the greater amount of water in winter, when conditions are dry; and the lesser amount in summer, when the weather is humid.

2 1/2 cups (10 ounces) grated Gruyère cheese, or the grated/shredded cheese of your choice

To make the starter: Mix the 1 1/4 cups flour, salt, yeast, and 1/2 cup water in a medium-sized bowl. Mix till well combined. (Note: it may look a rather dry. -- LR) Cover and let rest overnight at room temperature.

To make the dough: Combine the risen starter with the water, salt, flour, and yeast. Knead—by hand, mixer, or bread machine set on the dough cycle—to make a smooth dough. Place it in a lightly greased bowl, cover, and let it rise for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, till it’s nearly doubled in bulk.

Gently deflate the dough, and pat and stretch it into a ¾"-thick rectangle, about 9" x 12". Spritz with water, and sprinkle with the grated cheese. Starting with a long side, roll it into a log, pinching the seam to seal. Place the log, seam-side down, on a lightly floured or lightly oiled surface. Cover it and let it rise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, till it’s puffy though not doubled in bulk. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 425°F.

Gently cut the log into four crosswise slices, for mini-breads; or simply cut the dough in half, for two normal-sized loaves. Place them on one (for two loaves) or two (for four mini-loaves) lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheets, cut side up. Spread them open a bit, if necessary, to more fully expose the cheese. Spritz with warm water, and immediately place them in the preheated oven. Bake for 20 minutes (for the mini-loaves), or 35 minutes (for the full-sized loaves), or until the cheese is melted and the loaves are a very deep golden brown. Remove them from the oven, and cool on a rack.

Yield: four mini-loaves or two standard-size loaves.


PJH said...

Laura Rebecca, looks SO good - wish I was in your kitchen right now. Glad you're enjoying this recipe - I sure have. Multiple times. Just for testing, don't you know... :) Thanks for the links - PJ Hamel, King Arthur Flour

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Cheese and yeast, sort of make push overs of all of us! Looks like great bread and just a lot of fun.

breadchick said...

Yup, I know the roof of my mouth was screaming at me for ripping into a straight from the oven loaf but then the taste buds told it to "shut up!".

It was great baking with you and can't wait to do it again!

Helene said...

I could have eaten them all at once the smell was so good! I am really glad I got to do this with you all because it really helpd keep my spirits up and going! Thank you for the laughs and chat!

Sara said...

mmmm, look at that melty cheese!

Chanzie Bear said...

I came across your blog and this cheese bread recipe. They looked tooooo delish....I couldn't resist (although I'm not much of a baker) I made them this morning. Mine didn't turn out brown (they were white), I think it was because of the bread flour I used. Thanks for posting this recipe and thanks to the Cheesy Bread Bakers!