This loaf is based on a recipe I saw in a book called Scandinavian Baking by Trine Hahnemann. Her book is gorgeous and full of beautiful recipes for both delicious looking breads, and gorgeous cakes, I would really recommend. However, as I was flicking through the book, what really caught my eye was a simple cheddar loaf. Everybody knows I love cheese in all forms, and cheesy bread really is great. I added courgette, which alters the texture slightly and gives the loaf a nice speckle, as well as garlic, which lends a bit of a smokey flavour to the loaf.
500g of strong white flour
2 and a half tablespoons of fast action yeast
175g unsalted butter
1 tablespoon of salt
1 tablespoon of pepper
3 cloves of garlic
175g extra mature cheddar
1/2 a courgette
1. Melt the butter gently until there are no longer any lumps. I normally give mine a quick blast in the microwave. Leave to cool slightly because you don’t want to add hot butter to the dough.
2. Measure out the flour into a large bowl. Add the yeast to one side of the bowl and the salt and pepper to the other, before giving a quick stir.
3. Make a well in the centre of the flour and add the melted butter. Gently stir through. Next beat 2 eggs in a separate bowl until the yolks are broken. Add this to the flour mix and stir through again. By this point the mixture should be clagging together a bit. Next add the water a bit at a time. At this point you should get your hands involved and be bringing the mixture together into a dough. You don’t want to wet dough, but you do want to add enough water to make a nice, pliable dough. As each flour varies in it’s absorbency, you will need to use a bit of judgment as to how much water to use but 100ml is a good estimate. As the dough is made using eggs and butter, it should be really rich and fluffy, almost like brioche.
4. Once you are happy, tip your dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes until the dough is elastic and smooth
5. Cover with a clean tea towel and leave to prove for approximately 2 hours, or until double in size. If touched, it should spring back.
6. Whilst proving, peel and finely chop 3 cloves of garlic. Coarsely grate the cheese and courgette.
7. Once proven, tip out onto a lightly floured surface and gently knock a bit of the air out of your dough. Stretch out into a flat-ish rectangle and sprinkle some of the garlic, cheese and courgette over. Roll up and knead to incorporate the ingredients. Stretch out, sprinkle and knead in a few more times until all the extra ingredients are in there.
8. Roll out into a longish sausage shape, then twist. This gives a nice effect when baked. Shape into a circle, almost crown like, cover and leave to prove for a further 40 minutes.
9. Preheat the oven to 200•C.
10. Once proved, bake for approximately 50 minutes. It should be golden on top and make a hollow noise when tapped on the bottom.
I ate my loaf with some wensleydale cheese and tomato soup and it was lovely.