The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Ploughman's Lunch Bread Experiment

foodslut's picture

Ploughman's Lunch Bread Experiment

I love the idea of a rustic "ploughman's lunch", so I thought I'd try to replicate the experience (or, at least, channel it) via a savoury bread.

I started with a beer-bread base inspired by Dan Lepard's stout loaf recipe, only using an ale rather than the stronger stout:

Adding some locally-produced garlic coil, some diced dill pickles and cubed strong locally-produced Gouda cheese, I came up with this formula for an 825 gram/29 ounce loaf:

White flour75304.8
Rye flour25101.6
Sharp cheese1561.0
Instant yeast14.1

I mixed the dough and savoury elements, let it autolyze for about 20 minutes, kneaded by hand until resonably smooth, then let it ferment at room temperature until doubled (about 2 hours).

I then shaped the dough into a boule, and let it proof in a banneton for 45 minutes while the oven was preheating to 510 degrees F/265 C.  The dough was flipped onto parchment, slashed, and put into the oven on the baking stone I keep there.  I sprayed water into the oven from time to time for the first 8 minutes, then lowered the oven temp to 400 F/205 C for 45 minutes.

I was pleased with the resulting crumb, considering it wasn't a levain dough.

The taste?  A nice beer bread, with spikes of meat, cheese and pickles (which baked up tasting and feeling a bit like olives).

A success?  Not as much as I'd hoped in this format.  To better re-create the ploughman's lunch experience, my next experiment will be to make rolls, based on a beer bread formula filled with meat, cheese and pickles (maybe even a bit of chutney - I worried about the flavour spreading all over the bread if I mixed it into the dough itself).

Ideas/feedback (good, bad or ugly) always welcome.


dabrownman's picture

idea to put pickles in bread.  Sounds like a fantastic combination.  Will have to make some to taste it!  Very well done crust and crumb.  What kind of meat did you put in?

Nice baking

foodslut's picture

.... a bit of locally-produced garlic coil sausage for the chunks o' meat because it was what was in the fridge.  I was also toying with chunks of a decent ham.  I'm guessing if you want to try your own version, whatever meat you'd be happy to see on the ploughman's platter would be good.'s picture

That's some sturdy loaf.  Hard to imagine what one would put between slices of it in a sandwich -- it's all there already!  Maybe a 1/2" slice of Brandywine tomato?  Works around here between far humbler breads.  You even included "meat" (not part of the trad ploughman's you cite).  What meat exactly was that?  Surprised you left out the pickled onion.

Two slices o' that with a pint and I'd... be ready for nap!  Well done.




foodslut's picture

.... since I "averaged" an ingredient list for the ploughman's lunch from a range of sources.  I used the pickle to "channel" the pickled veg experience - part of me almost used chopped mixed Italian pickled veg as the pickle element. 

The meat was a garlic coil sausage I had in the fridge. According to Wikipedia (I know, it's FAR from perfect), there's some ham in some variations, which is why I included it.

Keep in mind I'm sharing this to be max flex - feel free to add/subtract elements based on you're favourite ploughman's combo.  I imagine it's like pasta sauce among Italians - there's some generally shared elements among different versions, but everyone must have a version/combo they're more used to.

Thanks, all, for the kind words.

baybakin's picture

Great concept! Interestingly enough, the pickle referred to in a Ploughmans isn't quite the pickle we generally think of, but a relish ( It's traditional, but I generally sub it for regular pickles (I make half-sour and full-sour pickles myself.  Fermentation is awesome).  I don't know how this would be in bread though...

foodslut's picture

.... but I worried about including a relish in the dough because it would spread out all through the dough.

That's why the next iteration of the experiment would probably be buns, with a beer bread dough, filled with the elements of the ploughman's lunch all in a single, unified "package". With that flavour delivery system, I could include runnier stuff like a pickle and keep its flavour localized to the filling.