The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

cheddar cheese

isand66's picture

Today's the Superbowl and I was asked to make some pretzel rolls to bring to the party we're going to.  I made a batch for Christmas Eve which everyone raved about so I used the same recipe I found on the TFL website.  I also couldn't help but try my own variation using my sourdough starter, pumpernickel flour and cheddar cheese.

I wasn't sure how they would turn out, but I do have to say they didn't dissapoint and rival the original.  Come on....who doesn't like cheese?

These are not hard to make except for the food grade Lye bath they go into.  Many people say you don't need to use Lye and can use baking soda.  I have not tried baking soda yet since I still have plenty of the Lye.  The Lye gives the pretzels a hard dark brown crust which is not easy to obtain with anything else. Feel free to use baking soda instead and increase the amount used versus the Lye.

Caution:  When using the Lye make sure you wear gloves, long sleeves and protective eye gear. Also, never add Lye to hot water or it will bubble over and probably burn you.

Main Dough Ingredients for 10 rolls at about 110 grams each

145 grams AP Sourdough Starter at 65% or adjust flour and water accordingly

437 grams Bread Flour (KAF)

200 grams Dark Rye (also known as Pumpernickel)

5 grams Seas Salt or Table Salt

5 grams Diastatic Malt Powder

384 grams Water (80-90 degrees F.)

Cheddar Cheese cut into cubes (sorry but I forgot to measure the cheese)

Pretzel Salt (for topping only)

For Lye Bath (3.5% Solution

2 Liters of Cold water

70 grams Sodium Hydroxide Crystals


Add the diastatic malt powder to the water and stir.  Add the flours in your mixing bowl and slowly add the water mixture.  Mix for about 1 minute until combined.  Cut your starter in pieces and lay on top of the flour mixture and cover and let rest for 30 minutes to 1 hour so the flour can absorb the water.

Next add the salt and mix for 4 minutes on low.    Place the dough in a slightly oiled bowl and do a couple of stretch and folds.  Cover the bowl and let it rest for 10-15 minutes.  Do another stretch and fold in the bowl and let it rest another 10-15 minutes.  Do another stretch and fold and let the dough sit out in the covered bowl for another 1.5 hours.  Place the dough in the refrigerator until ready to bake the next day.

When ready to bake take the dough out and leave it covered in your bowl for 2 hours.  Next divide the dough into around 10 pieces that are 110 grams each.  Flatten each piece into a circle and place a piece of cheese in the middle and pinch the dough around the cheese.  Next flip over and roll against your work surface while creating a tight ball.  Place on a baking sheet and cover with either a moist towel or plastic wrap sprayed with cooking spray.  Let it rest for around 60 minutes to about 1/2 proof.

While the rolls are proofing, fill a large stock pot with 2 liters of cold water.  Measure out the Lye and slowly add it to the cold water.  (DO NOT EVER ADD LYE TO HOT WATER).  Cover the pot and bring it to a rolling boil and then shut off the heat.

Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees.  When the rolls are proofed sufficiently, prepare to dip them for about 15 seconds in the lye bath upside down.  Let them drain on a bakers rack over a cookie tray covered with a towel or parchment paper.  After draining for a minute you can transfer them to a cookie/baking sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  You want to use a stainless steel cooking sheet as aluminum may react with the lye and peel.  Note: do not ever use parchment paper as the rolls will get stuck to the bottom.  I know this from experience and I had to cut off the bottoms of half the rolls I made.

When ready to bake, score each roll with an "X" on the middle and sprinkle with pretzel salt.  Make sure you use pretzel salt if you want authentic rolls.

Bake for about 15-20 minutes until they are golden brown and register about 185 F in the middle.  Let them cool on a bakers rack until you can't wait any longer!

I actually couldn't wait long enough to try one which is why the crumb shot below is a little gummy looking.  It tasted good though!


Let's go Jets!  (Did I really say that?  Must be the alcohol.....)

isand66's picture

Since I had some leftover Durum YW starter from my last bake I decided to make English Muffins again.  I followed the same recipe I used the last time but this time the starter was 100% Durum flour and I used my European style flour from KAF for the main dough.  Similar to last time I used Greek Yogurt (2%) and I added some Cheddar cheese as well.

The end results were exactly what I expected with a nice open crumb and flavor as good as any English Muffin I have had before.

English Muffins Main Dough

165 grams Wild Yeast Water Durum Starter (you can use your regular Sourdough starter at 65% hydration instead if desired)

620 grams European Style Flour (KAF or use Bread Flour with a little Whole Wheat)

300 grams Greek Plain Yogurt (I used Fage 2%)

235 grams Water (85-90 degrees F.)

50 grams Cheese (I used grated Cheddar.  Add in final mix)

26 grams Sugar

10 grams Salt

12 grams Baking Soda

Semolina or Cornmeal for Dusting


Mix flour, starter and yogurt in your mixing bowl and mix for 1-2 minutes to combine.

Cover the bowl and let it sit out at room temperature overnight or for at least 9-10 hours.

The next morning add the rest of the ingredients and mix for a minute.  Knead the dough either with your mixer or by hand for around 4 minutes, adding additional flour if necessary.  Next roll out the dough to about 3/4" thickness on your work surface.  You will have to put some bench flour on the work surface to prevent the dough from sticking.  Using  4" biscuit cutter or can, cut the muffins out and place on a pan lined with parchment paper dusted with corn meal or semolina flour.  You should end up with 5-6 muffins.  If necessary you can combine the scraps and roll out again but you may need to let it rest before rolling.

Cover the muffins with a clean misted or floured towel and let rest for 1 hour at room temperature.

Heat your griddle or heavy skillet to medium or around 350 degrees  and when ready to cook spray some cooking spray on the cooking surface before placing the English Muffins in the pan.

Cover the pan to create some steam and let cook for around 5 minutes or until the bottoms are nice and brown.  Flip and cook another 5 minutes and remove to a baking rack to cool.

Epsilon's picture

I've decided that I'm gonna start sticking these on a blog rather than the forums. Mostly because this is the first -really- successful bread I've made. Like, I'm making another two loaves of it right now, just with a bit less rising time. :P

The ingredients:

4c AP flour
1/2tsp salt
8oz medium cheddar cheese, diced
1/4c VWG
2oz grated parmesan
1/2tsp ground chipotle pepper
2c water
2 1/2tsp ADY
1tsp liquid smoke flavor
1 egg, beaten with some water to thin it out (for a wash)
1 sugar cube (to proof yeast)

Put the yeast and 1/4c of water into a measuring cup with a sugar cube to proof. While the yeast proofs, put the flour, salt, VWG, chipotle pepper, and parmesan into a bowl. Combine thoroughly, so you don't need to worry about mixing it. If possible, try and break up any chunks of parmesan - they'll make hard little nodules in your bread if you don't.

Once the yeast is proofed, add the yeast along with the other 1 3/4c of water. Also add the liquid smoke flavoring at this point. Knead the dough until developed (and I'll admit, I still haven't quite figured out what dough feels like when "properly developed," but I've had good luck so far...) and toss in your mixing bowl, and cover it to proof.

While the dough proofs, take your 8oz of cheese and cut it up into roughly 1/4-1/2" cubes. Once done, stick it in the fridge until your dough is ready. Don't rise it too much - you'll get that "beery" flavor, and not everyone enjoys the taste of straight CO2! (although I kinda like it, I admit...)

Once the dough has risen to about 1.5-2x its original size, take it out and stretch it out 'til it's about 1/2" thick. Put the cheese cubes on top of the dough, trying to spread them evenly. Now fold the dough, press it out a bit, fold it, press it out a bit, and just repeat 'til you start getting pieces of cheese breaking through or almost breaking through the outside of the dough. Since there's no egg or anything in the bread, it should be perfectly safe to nom on the cheese that falls off - consider it a bonus. ;)

Shape them as you desire (personally, I went with two batard-like loaves, but I don't see why you can't do a boule, a baguette, etc. shape with this?) and let rise again. Rise them until they're about doubled.

While they're rising, preheat your oven to 500F. Once risen (which should be helped by the heat from the preheating oven,) brush the loaves with your egg mixture, slash the tops however you want (I use three slashes down the long axis of the loaf, though I forgot this time...) and stick 'em in the oven with steam (again, personally, I use an old lasagna pan I keep in the bottom of the oven, and toss a cup of water in there. By the time the cup of water is boiled off, that's "enough steam".) For the love of <your deity of choice>, don't make this on a baking stone unless you -want- to scrape burnt cheese off the thing. If you do, at least cover it somehow.

Drop the oven temperature to 400F, and cook for 50 minutes. Enjoy the smell from the liquid smoke that you mixed into it, along with the slight crispy-burnt cheese smell coming from the bits that should have been hanging off the loaf. Feel free to eat the crispy bits - I think they're the best part of the bread!


Cooling loaves:

Crumb porn:

Very tasty bread. I alluded to this when I was writing the instructions, but the first batch of this I made was overproofed - I had a strong CO2 (i.e. "beery") flavor in the loaf. I've got another batch in the oven (since I'm actually making these for other people) that should be significantly less beery. Still though, the crumb is wonderful, the loaf itself is nice and fluffy, and the taste is awesome.

Edit: Oh yes. MUCH better. So much oven spring out of the loaves this time around. I definitely overproofed it the first time, and I think I know exactly where I went wrong.

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