Sunday, March 22, 2009

Staff of Life

Bread has fed the masses for longer than any of us can conceive of. I don't know about you, but I love those Artisan loaves that cost an arm and leg in the bakeries and grocery stores these days. Making bread at home couldn't be easier. It does take a little bit of your time, but you will have a little extra cash to spend on something else. The real bonus is the taste, the smell, the sense of accomplishment.

Gruyère-Stuffed Crusty Loaves
From King Arthur Flour


1 1/4 cups King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
1/2 cup cool water
all of the starter
1 cup + 2 tablespoons to 1 1/4 cups lukewarm water*
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon Pizza Dough Flavor (optional)
3 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour
1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
*Use the greater amount of water in winter, when conditions are dry;
and the lesser amount in summer, when the weather is humid.
2 1/2 cups grated Gruyère cheese, or the grated/shredded cheese of
your choice (a mixture of provolone and mozzarella is tasty)
1 tablespoon garlic oil (optional)
1 tablespoon pizza seasoning (optional)

1) To make the starter: Mix the 1 1/4 cups flour,
salt, yeast, and 1/2 cup water in a medium-sized
bowl. Mix till well combined; the starter will be very
dry. Cover and let rest overnight at room
temperature; it'll become bubbly.
2) To make the dough: Combine the risen starter
with the water, salt, flour, and yeast. Knead—by
hand, mixer, or bread machine set on the dough cycle
—to make a smooth dough.
3) Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover, and let it rise for 1 1/2 to
2 hours, till it's nearly doubled in bulk.
4) Gently deflate the dough, and pat and stretch it
into a 3/4"-thick rectangle, about 9" x 12". Spritz with
water, and sprinkle with the grated cheese.
5) Starting with a long side, roll it into a log, pinching
the seam to seal. Place the log, seam-side down, on a
lightly floured or lightly oiled surface.
6) Cover it and let it rise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, till it's puffy though not
doubled in bulk. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 425°F.
7) Gently cut the log into four crosswise slices, for
mini-breads; or simply cut the dough in half, for two
normal-sized loaves. Place them on one (for two
loaves) or two (for four mini-loaves) lightly greased or
parchment-lined baking sheets, cut side up. Spread
them open a bit, if necessary, to more fully expose
the cheese. Spritz with warm water, and immediately place them in the
preheated oven.
8) Bake for 20 minutes (for the mini-loaves), or 35 minutes (for the full-
sized loaves), or until the cheese is melted and the loaves are a very deep
golden brown. Remove them from the oven, and cool on a rack.

*Note: cooked, diced bacon, diced Pepperoni, or other thinly sliced cooked meat would be a good addition. I did not have Gruyere on hand, so I subbed freshly grated Parm and Manchego. **The below recipe summary does not include the rise time for the bread dough.

**Recipe summary
Hands-on time:
25 mins.
Baking time:
20 mins.
Total time:
45 mins.
4 mini-loaves or 2 standard-size


  1. Sounds delicious!

    Your post reminded me I haven't made home made bread in a while. This would be a great recipe to start back up with.