I love bread. Especially fresh bread. Jamie laughs at me because I immediately eat the end off of any loaf that I buy. I've been known to get annoyed when I take a whole loaf to be sliced when I'm at Central Market and the person running it through the slicer isn't careful about getting both end pieces back into the bag. I like sandwiches, but with really fresh bread, I eat the bread with butter and a bit of salt (I buy unsalted butter) and have any meat and cheese on the side.
Buying bread is good, but making your own is even better--can't get any fresher than that. The tough part is waiting for it to cool enough to eat. Sometimes I don't. =) So I was thrilled to find a recipe where you are actually encouraged to eat it hot. I mentioned in my last post that I've been reading recipes over at the Baker's Banter, run by the folks at King Arthur Flour. The one for Gruyere-Stuffed Cheese Bread caught my eye a while back. I've been meaning to make it for a while, but I keep forgetting to mix up the starter the night before. Then, about a month ago, I read several accounts of making this bread, including one on The Sour Dough. Things were still a bit too crazy for me to get it done, though. So I added it to my list of things to make while I was on vacation.
It still took me until the weekend to make the bread. I almost forgot the starter again, but remembered it as I was getting ready for bed Friday night. The nice thing is that it only takes a few minutes to mix together. I left it for about twelve hours, which seemed to be fine. The dough was also pretty easy to mix up. As I was cleaning out the fridge Saturday morning, I took stock of my cheese options. I didn't have enough of any one cheese, so I went with about two-thirds sharp cheddar and one-third jack (plain--don't like peppers). I'm glad I did--I think all cheddar would have been a bit overpowering. I got the dough rolled up with the cheese inside and left it to proof. Part-way into that, I realized that my timeline wasn't going to work, so I ended up moving it to the fridge to slow things down. Next time, I'll chill the dough log right away if I'm going to have to put off baking, since the dough over-proofed a bit. Not too bad though. I went with four small loaves, and baked them for about 25 minutes. I definitely recommend baking this bread on parchment--the cheese makes a mess. But boy is it worth it!
We pretty much ate bread for dinner. With some fruit on the side (I love peach season around here). This bread is amazingly good. I'm already coming up with ideas for different flavors--how does fontina with some oregano and sundried tomatoes sound? We restrained ourselves and only ate one loaf last night. The others are getting sliced up to go to our dance this afternoon. The bread is best hot, but it's still pretty good cooled, and if we keep it around here, I'll eat it all, which wouldn't be at all good for my waistline.
If you love cheese and bread, you've got to try this recipe. As with many other KAF recipes, there is a great blog entry that illustrates how to make it. Don't put it off like I did!