Cheddar Cheese and Chives Bread
One of the most rewarding things of baking or cooking in general is the experience of trying out new and different flavors or a combination of two or more flavors. And when it's the chance to apply this to bread, I am all game for it.
Trying out with new flavors has it's own set of challenges though. You can end up with a combo of flavors that don't go well with each other or you may have a particular flavor more prominent than the other one. It's really a matter of trial and test, and then retrial and retest. You need to devote in your time and most importantly, have patience.
Cheddar Cheese and Chives work very well together. The inclusion of cheddar cheese in the bread also softens it's texture, besides imparting a wonderful cheesy flavor that gets complimented with the sharpness of chives. I decided to use half milk and half water for a tender crumb.
Recently, I've started experimenting with the combination of bread flour and all purpose flour (plain flour) for my breads. One of the reasons is that the bread flour that I procure has a high rate of protein (14%), leading to higher gluten development. So to balance out the gluten, I substitute 50% of the flour as all purpose. I've also noticed that this flour combination gives me a softer bread as opposed to all bread flour.
The Cheddar cheese that I've used for this bread is a processed mature one but not sharp. You can use a sharp cheddar if you want to. Also, the chives that I've used (from my kitchen garden yayyyy) have flat leaves like those of spring onions rather than the ones that are straight and tubular. Though I've used 1/4 cup of this herb based on the strength of it's flavor, you might have to alter the amount based on the type of chives that you use.
By all means, you can substitute any other herb like rosemary or may be oregano for the chives. I feel it would go pretty well with cheese. You can also add some spices along with the herb or replacing the herb altogether uhhhh...endless variations!
Recipe Source: Bakingyummies
Makes two medium sized loaves.
250 grams / 9 ounces bread flour
250 grams / 9 ounces all purpose flour
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1+1/2 teaspoon table salt
1+1/2 teaspoon instant yeast (if the weather is cold, use 1+3/4 teaspoon instant yeast instead)
145 ml / 5fl ounces skimmed milk plus a little extra for glazing at room temperature
145 ml / 5fl ounces water at room temperature
120 grams / 4 ounces cheddar cheese plus 35 grams / 1 ounce extra for sprinkling
1/4 cup chopped chives
Combine the milk and water. Click here and follow the steps till you are done with the initial(first) proofing stage making sure that you substitute the ingredients with the ones mentioned above. Also, add the cheese along with the other dry ingredients. Add the chopped chives to the dough and knead for about a minute or so. You need to do this just a couple of minutes before you keep the dough to rise for the initial proofing.
Divide the dough into two equal pieces and shape both into round loaves as shown here.
Line one or two baking sheets with parchment paper. Place the round loaves on the baking sheet and brush with milk. If you're using just one baking sheet, ensure that there is enough space between the loaves to double in size and expand further in the oven.
Sprinkle with cheddar cheese and keep uncovered till the loaves are almost double in size.
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C / 390 degrees F and bake the bread in the preheated oven for an hour or so or until the bread is golden brown on all sides and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom with your knuckles. Alternatively, you can check if the bread is done with a food thermometer as well. It should register at least 95 degrees C / 190 degrees F.
Remove the bread from the baking sheet and place on a wire rack to cool completely.
Enjoy your home made Cheddar Cheese and Chives bread dipped in a soup or stew or simply toasted and slathered with butter!
Storage Suggestions: This bread can be stored at room temperature in an air tight zip lock bag for up to 3 days or frozen for up to a month.