This is a variation on Hamelman’s Cheese Bread, using Cheddar and Jarslberg instead of Parmasen, and sprinkling Sesame Seeds on the loaves. It all started because the fridge was full of cheese. And I love cheese breads. I have made the Cheese Board’s Onion-Curry Cheese Bread (http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/22549/some-spice-breads-%E2%80%93-one-sweet-and-one-savory) many times. But I wanted to try something new. So I flipped through several baking books, and found Hamelman’s Cheese Bread to be a good starting point.
I used a very active starter, left over from the Tartine Basic Country Bread, as the seed culture, and made the stiff levain per Hamelman’s formula. The final dough was also from the Hamelman formula, but I substituted the surplus cheeses (sharp Cheddar and Jarlsberg) for the Parmesan in Hamelman’s formula. And I topped the proofed loaves with a light egg wash and sesame seeds just before scoring and baking.
I recommend using parchment under the loaves to keep the mess off your baking stone.
Here’s the formula and procedure.
Water (75 F)
.1 (1 tsp)
Egg wash (1 egg and 1 Tbsp water)
Stiff Levain Build
Water (75 F)
Mature culture (stiff)
Water (80 F)
Cheese (1/2 Cheddar and ½ Jarslberg), half grated and half in ½ inch cubes
1. Make the levain about 12 hours before mixing the dough. Cover and let ripen at room temperature.
2. Mix all final dough ingredients, except the cheese, at low speed for 3 minutes, then at medium speed for 3 minutes, to moderate gluten formation. The dough should be quite stiff. Add cheese and mix on low speed just until incorporated.
3. Scrape the dough onto a board, round up into a ball and place in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover the bowl and let ferment about 2 ½ hours, with folds at 50 minutes and 100 minutes.
4. Divide into two or three loaves, pre-shape into rounds and let rest, covered, for 15-20 minutes.
5. Shape into boules or batards and proof about 1 ½ to 2 hours at room temperature.
6. Pre-heat oven to 500 F, with stone in place and steaming apparatus of choice (I used cast-iron skillet with lava rocks, plus Sylvia’s steamy towels).
7. When proofing complete, move loaves to parchment covered peel. Brush loaves lightly with egg wash, and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Then score the loaves , slide the parchment paper onto the oven stone, and steam the oven.
8. As soon as the loaves are in the oven, reduce heat to 450 F. Bake with steam for 18 minutes, remove steam apparatus, reduce heat to 400 F, and bake another 16-18 minutes (too internal temperature of 206-207 F).
9. Cool on rack.
This bread is amazing when almost, but not quite, cooled. And it makes nice toast. The combination of cheese and sesame is really good!