The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Blue Cheese

loydb's picture

Over on Fitocracy, we're having an Iron Chef Apple challenge. This is my entry.

This is based on the Basic Sourdough recipe from Peter Reinhart's Bread Baker's Apprentice. BBA also contains the instructions for making your very own sourdough starter particular to your local environment.

Day 1: The Preferment

Start with a mixture of 45% hard red wheat, 45% hard white wheat, and 10% rye. Mill fine. (Alternately, any combination of unbleached bread flour, whole wheat flour, and rye flour that you like, just maintain the 10% rye ratio by weight.)

Take a few ounces of your sourdough starter, and mix in an equal weight of water and flour. Let it rise covered for 5-8 hours (it will double roughly), then put in the fridge overnight.

Day 2: The Dough

Dice up 3-4 apples. I used three Braeburns and a Granny Smith. Also weigh out 5 oz. of pistachios and 4 oz of blue cheese. Chop the apples up last, as they'll immediately start to oxidize and turn brown.

Add the water and preferment to the mixer and start it up.

Alternate adding the apple and your flour until all the apple (and about 2/3 of the flour) has been incorporated, then alternate adding in the pistachios and the rest of the flour, adding the blue cheese at the very end.

Turn the sticky mass out onto a well-floured cutting board and, using a dough blade and your hands, continue to knead and incorporate flour until it forms a fairly stiff, non-sticky dough.

Put it in a large bowl or tub and let it rise for 4-6 hours, until nearly doubled. Refrigerate overnight.

Day 3: Shape n' Bake

Remove the dough from the fridge at least two hours before shaping. It will have slowly risen more overnight.

Gently divide the dough and shape it, then allow to proof covered until nearly doubled.

Score loaves and bake!

The result makes great sandwich bread -- no cheese is needed, just a couple of pieces of ham. It's also good toasted with honey for breakfast.

longhorn's picture

A friend experienced what appeared to be a protease attack earlier this week while making a Blue Cheese, Walnut, and Fig sourdough using the Tartine approach. The loaves began normally - up to forming and then sat with little change. Rather interestingly this was done in parallel with a batch a Tartine aux Cereales using the same sourdough starter and dough recipe. The loaves without blue cheese performed admirably. My friend told described the problem to me and wondered what about the blue cheese might have led to the problem.

Suspecting protease failure, I Googled blue cheese and found that much if not most blue cheese has protease added during its manufacture. As a result the Blue Cheese loaves would have a higher level of protease than the regular dough. Cool winter kitchen temperatures mean longer fermentation and proofing times but as I understand it enzyme activity is much less temperature sensitive than the yeast. This apparently allowed the protease to destroy the gluten before the yeast could finish and the bread be bakes. 

I wanted to document this because the TFL site has recorded many successful efforts to use blue cheese in sourdough. In looking at other recipes using blue cheese it is interesting that most that I can find that use blue cheese IN the bread use ADY or IDY rather than sourdough. Others form the bread. slash it, and insert the blue cheese in the slash. Others put it on top. Peter Reinhart is one of the few who suggest putting the blue cheese IN the loaf and he says to do it in the last two minutes of kneading. Apparently that minimizes the spread of the cheese protease in the dough.

It appears that mixing the blue cheese in early or having a long proofing time (low temps or low yeast activity) with blue cheese breads is a potential source of problems.


xaipete's picture

Leader's Méteils au bleu

April 2, 2009 - 4:08pm -- xaipete

Since I'm not having any luck with making rye chops, I'm going to try Leader's Little Blue Cheese Rye Loaves from Local Breads. I see some discussion about this bread from a couple of years ago. Are there typos in Leader's recipes or just typos in posts for his recipes. I read something about Mini Oven and a red pen. Mini, if you could help me out here, I would appreciate it.



Eli's picture

Question about blue cheese

October 17, 2008 - 12:03pm -- Eli

I am preparing to make my sourdough wth blue cheese and other ingredients. I have often wondered if blue cheese goes bad. I am certain it does. I keep a large amount in the fridge and I can sometimes tell that after a while it has a malty finish. Once it reaches that point I pitch it and replace. However, I have noticed when I use my vacuum sealer it tends to draw the moisture from the cheese. If I pour off that liquid the cheese seems to last longer. But it still leaves the question at what point does blue cheese go bad?

Any thoughts?


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