The first blog I ever read on a regular basis was Chocolate and Zucchini. Now I read quite a few more but it was Clotilde who introduced me to the daunting but exciting world of food blogging. When her first book was published I has a weekend job as a bookseller and, rather cheekily, ordered in a large pile for the window display. In a recent post she wrote about bread being an ideal gift when you go to someone’s house for a meal. I fully agree with this and decided to channel my inner Clotilde by baking a loaf to take with me when I visited a friend last week.
Since February I’ve been experimenting with sourdough bread and keep a starter in the fridge. It’s been a very interesting and rewarding project and I found a new confidence in bread making. Unfortunately, wanting to have this ready early on Saturday morning, I didn’t have enough time to dedicate to a sourdough loaf and ended up turning to the little box of dried active yeast sitting on my kitchen shelf. Fantastically useful when you want bread “pronto”. I started the dough off when I got home from work and had a lovely loaf by bedtime.
The bread made a nice gift which we had for lunch with cheeses, chutney and a tomato salad, yum!
Herb and cheese bread
Recipe inspired by an Allinson flour packet, My Little Expat Kitchen and the contents of my fridge.
- 350g strong plain flour
- 75g strong wholemeal flour
- 75g spelt flour
- 7g sachet of instant yeast
- 8g salt
- 1 tbsp dried oregano or mixed dried herbs
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 300-350ml warm water
- 250g cheddar cheese, grated
- a little milk
Begin by mixing the flours, salt, herbs and yeast. Gradually stir in the water until you have a soft, workable dough.
Knead the dough for 10 mins, cover with a damp tea towel and leave to rise in a warm place for 1-2 hours until doubled in size.
Punch down the dough and divide into three equal pieces (I find weighing them is a quick way to do this accurately).
Take one piece and shape into a log. Roll out into a rectangle where the dough is about 5mm thick. Scatter one third of the grated cheese down the middle of the dough leaving a gap around the edges. Brush a little milk around the edges and pinch them together to form a roll. Place seam-side down and repeat with the remaining dough so you have 3 cheese-stuffed rolls.
Place the 3 rolls on a baking sheet Bring the rolls together at one end and form a plait. Tuck the ends under so the plait doesn’t come undone.
Heat the oven to 220°C. Place the baking sheet on top of the oven while it preheats for its second rise.
Brush the loaf with a little milk than bake in the middle of the oven for 10 mins and then lower the heat to 190°C to continue cooking for another 30 mins.