Thursday, June 2, 2011

Cheddar-Stuffed Crusty Sourdough Loaves

So.  Apparently filling and rolling and layering has become sort of a theme around here when baking bread lately.  First there was that Better-than-any-Bread-in-the-Galaxy-Garlic Bread-to-end-all-Garlic BreadsOkay, that's not its name...but I'm thinking of renaming it that.  Next came the re-appearance of the Vesuvius of breads, the Stromboli.  And dare I include the Cinnamon-Sugar Pull-Apart Ricotta Bread in this group?  It does have a filling...although no rolling was involved.  I suppose this reminds me most of the Garlic bread since it includes filling, rolling, and then slicing down the middle...letting the cut side sort of simply and beautifully droop and spread.  But then again, it's not as soft and luxurious as the garlic glory.  It has a magnificent crusty outside like the Stromboli does.  It's very reminiscent of both.  Crusty and cheesy with a hint of garlic.  Another one for the keeper pile.
Cheddar-Stuffed Crusty Sourdough Loaves
inspired by & adapted from King Arthur Flour
yield: 2 loaves

pre-ferment:
1¼ c. (~147 g.) Unbleached Bread Flour
1 tsp. salt
½ c. cool water
good ladle-full (~6-8 oz) of 100% Hydration Sourdough Starter*

dough:
all of starter*
1¼ c. lukewarm water
3½ c. (~413 g.) Unbleached Bread Flour + more as needed

filling:
garlic oil (or olive oil & a bit of minced garlic)
2½ c. (~8 oz.) Extra Sharp Cheddar, shredded

Pre-ferment:
Mix all ingredients together.  Starter will be pretty dry.  If it seems too dry and will not come together, add another Tbs. or so of water at a time.  Cover and let sit overnight at warm room temperature.  It should look bubbly in the morning.

Dough:
Combine risen starter and other ingredients.  Knead either by hand or using a mixer or bread machine.  Dough will be a bit "tacky"...but not so sticky that you cannot handle it.  If it is too sticky, simply knead in a bit more flour until it handles nicely.  Place in an oiled bowl (or let bread machine do its work), cover and let sit until doubled in size, ~1-1½ hours.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for a minute or two.  Pat and stretch, using your fingers, the dough into a large rectangle, ~9" x 12".  Drizzle with a bit of oil (~1 Tbs.) and sprinkle cheese evenly over the whole thing.

Starting with the long side, roll into a log.  Pinch seams together and let sit, seam-side down, on a lightly floured surface (covered with lightly sprayed plastic wrap) for ~1-1½ hours, or until puffy.  Preheat oven to 425° F during last 20 minutes of rising time.

Cut log in half and place, cut side UP onto parchment-lined (or silpat or simply greased) baking sheet.  Yes, it's a bit awkward...but it's supposed to be rustic-looking...so no worries.  Spritz with some warm water.
Slide into oven and bake for ~35-45 minutes, or until cheese is melted and loaves are a deep, golden brown.  Let cool slightly and serve warm.

*Alternately, you could make regular (not Sourdough) by adding ½ tsp. instant yeast instead of the starter.  Also, add another ½ tsp. instant yeast to "dough" ingredients, along w/ starter. This is how the actual KAF recipe was presented.

Sliced and toasted, this bread makes one killer BLT Sandwich!

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