Sunday, March 2, 2014

Cheddar Bread

Cheddar Bread 

There are certain pleasures of life which makes you feel that life can be beautiful and my recent venture into the bread-making arena has left me feeling that life is sweet. Alright I have to confess that the perfect outcome of my first ever bread has left me a little more joyous than ever. You see first-time successes are nothing to feel great over because if you really do your research well and know what to do and what not to do then chances are you will not fail.

Now there are plenty of recipes out there in the virtual world but choosing the right one is your key trick. For me I like the lengthy ones which explain every bit of the process and after my immense first time success with Dan lepard's Dundee Cake I decided he was my man for my first White bread as well. Now even with a good recipe I was terrified and here is why. You see the first time I had followed Mary Berry's recipe my cake had a mildly zinc like taste which I later found out was due to the amount of baking powder. I learnt a valuable lesson that the strength and usage of baking powder can geographically vary. So a reduced amount of baking powder later I have since made perfect Victorian sponge cakes and so I was a bit scared about using yeast since I felt the geography could come between me and my perfect loaf but then I closed my eyes read his recipe and compared it with another well known one and finalized on his well explained one. This one is just how I liek my bread to be rustic in its look and feel and taste and soft and cheesy inside.

So bread-making is the easiest of all culinary projects. Here are a few tips I have gathered from Mr.Lepard :-

  1. Take your time and work a bit , so he suggests letting the yeast salt, flour and wet ingredients work for 10 minutes and then giving it a light kneading with buttered or oiled hands leaving ti for 10 more minutes and repeating it twice more. 
  2. He suggests using yogurt for half the amount of water specified in a recipe for softer bread without a milky taste. So if a recipe asks for 300ml water you use 150ml water and 150gm yogurt which has been whipped.
  3. Always place a tray of water beneath your rack which is baking the bread since that helps in keeping it moist. 

So I bravely added cheddar to my first bread and its  success overwhelmed me and so here I present my very own Cheddar bread since Mr.Lepard's recipe was only for a white bread :P 

Serves 4 to 5 

400gm all purpose flour 
1 tsp instant yeast 
1 tsp salt 
150ml lukewarm water 
150gm yogurt which has been whisked 
100gm Cheddar cheese cubed into very tiny cubes 
Kitchen towel 
Butter for kneading 
Extra flour for kneading 

Mixing the ingredients with the wooden spatula 

Start by placing your flour in a bowl. Add the yeast on one side of the flour and the salt on the other side . If you mix the salt and yeast it apparently hampers the yeast in its work. Slowly add the curd and mix with a wooden spoon. Then add the water bit but bit and mix well with the wooden spoon. You shall have a sticky consistency and wrap it in your kitchen towel and leave it for 10 minutes. 

After the third kneading with butter 

Oil your palms very well and the work board you shall work upon and knead the bread gently and put it back in the bowl and repeat this process twice more with a 10 minute interval where you wrap the dough in the kitchen towel. After the last kneading in which you make sure every side is covered with butter leave the dough to rise for 45 minutes (that is exactly the time I required) to 50 minutes and in the meantime cube the cheddar , wash and pat dry your work-board and flour it well, use plenty of flour on your hands and then knead the dough and do it fast so that the dough does not stick to your hands. 

After the last kneading with butter and letting the dough rise for 45 minutes 

Cheddar being added 

Add the cheddar in the middle and cover it with the dough from all sides and pinch it to make sure nothing is sticking out. Leave it with the kitchen towel wrapped around it for another 45 minutes to 50 minutes and then preheat oven to 220 C. Make a pattern on your bread with a knife before baking if you want to. 

Before the patterns 

Final dough ready to be baked 

Bake your bread with the tray of water beneath the rack for 45 minutes to 50 minutes if using convection oven or 35 minutes to 40 minutes for regular ovens. 

Enjoy this hearty bread with some soup, all by itself or with some cold cuts or make a hearty sandwich the choice is all yours 

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