Two Loaves and a Pie...


I've baked bread for myself and others for as long as I can remember. It is simple to do and so incredibly satisfying. Yesterday I made the loves pictured...Cheddar-Herb Loaves. They are a super delicious sandwich loaf. The recipe makes either two large or three medium loves, or as is often my wont, I made two loaves and a pizza (pictured at the bottom of this post). The pizza contained frijoles negro (stewed black beans), garlicky sauteed spinach, cheddar and Asiago cheese, caramelized onions and sweet peppers. Anyhow the recipe for the bread dough is below. If you'd like to view additional bread recipes Click Here (there are so many).


Cheddar Herb Loaves

Makes 2 or 3 loaves

2 cups whole wheat flour
1 room temperature water
2 teaspoons instant yeast

4 cups bread flour
1 ½ cups room temperature water

2 teaspoons instant yeast
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons sugar
¼ cup olive oil

2 cups shredded cheddar
1 tablespoons dried parsley
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil

In one bowl make a preferment (starter) by combining 2 cups of whole wheat flour with 1 cup water and 2 teaspoons of instant yeast. Begin the autolyse (dough) in another bowl by combining 4 cups bread flour and 1 ½ cups water. Stir each bowl just enough to combine the ingredients, taking care not to get yeast into the bowl with the autolyse. Cover both bowls and allow to rest and ferment for 30-90 minutes, during which time the preferment will begin it’s job multiplying yeast and fermenting flour, and the autolyse will soak the grain, swelling the gluten.

After an hour or so, combine the ingredients from both bowls into the bowl of an upright mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add the remaining 2 teaspoons of yeast and the salt (add the yeast and salt on opposite sides of the bowl), and also the sugar and olive oil. Knead the dough on medium speed for about 8 minutes. Then add the shredded cheddar along with the parsley, oregano, and basil; knead the dough for another 2 or 3 minutes.

Place the dough in a lightly oiled container, cover it loosely, and allow to ferment for 1-2 hours, or until doubled in bulk. Deflate the dough and allow it to ferment an additional 30 minutes.

Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and cut it into 2 or 3 pieces. Shape into loaves and place into lightly oiled pans (or shape them free-form and place them on baking sheets). Loosely cover the loaves with plastic wrap and allow to ferment for 30-60 minutes, or until double in size and when gently touched with a fingertip an indentation remains.

Preheat an oven to 400f (200c) and bake the breads for about 30-40 minutes, rotating the loaves at least once while baking. The breads are done when they are dark brown and sound hollow when tapped upon. Remove the breads from their pans and allow them to cook on a wire rack for at least 10 minutes before slicing.