Saturday, February 26, 2011

ABED Recipe: Soft Cheese Bread

I recently made the Soft Cheese Bread shown in Peter Reinhart's Artisan Breads Every Day, with some success.  Overall, it's a very, very tasty loaf of bread, if quite rich.  I won't quote the amounts used in the recipe, but I will show the cost of each ingredient.

Mise en place

Unbleached Bread Flour: $2.12
Salt: $0.03
Brown Sugar: $0.23
Lukewarm Water or Beer
Milk: $0.22
Instant Yeast: $1.42
Melted Butter: $1.04
Chopped Onions: $0.77
Cheese: $5.04
Ingredients Total: $10.87

Putting it together was not at all difficult, though some preparation is involved: chopping onions and warming water/beer and milk.  I used beer: Twisted Pine Raspberry Wheat, which is a dark, flavorful brew I'd had a few times at the brewery itself.  Just mix the salt, sugar, and flour together; dissolve the yeast into the milk and beer; and add that and the melted butter to the flour mixture.  Mix until moistened, let it rest a few minutes, knead it a few minutes, and add the chopped onions.  The stand mixer had a bit of a problem with the load, as there's quite a bit of dough in there, so I had to knead the onions into the mass by hand.  It then goes into the fridge for an overnight fermentation.

The dough after 16 hours in the refrigerator

The next step was a little more challenging: dividing it in half and rolling half out into a broad rectangle, then shredding all the cheese and sprinkling it on top.  I used sharp cheddar along with a little bit of cubed Gouda and shaved Parmesan and Romano cheeses.  It then gets rolled up and shaped as a loaf, batard, or rolls not unlike sticky buns

The dough rolled out and covered in cheese

Cheesy rolls, pre-proof
Big, cheese-filled batard, pre-proof

Cheesy rolls, proofed and ready for baking
Batard ready for baking
Shaping the dough was a challenge, as you can see; I didn't get as tight a skin as I'd have liked on the batard.  Even so, after quite some time baking it all (I did the rolls first, then the batard), it came out well: the onions seem to have dissolved into the crumb, and there's a very nice sharp, cheesy flavor to the whole loaf.

One cheesy roll on a plate

A gigantic, cheesy torpedo
My only real complaint is that this bread is extremely rich.  I had a couple of slices once the loaf had cooled, and it filled me up for the rest of the day.  Hence, it's not a real sandwich loaf (unless you're from Wisconsin).  Even so, it's extremely delicious.  Next time I make it, I'll cut the recipe in half.

Total Cost: $10.87
Cost Per Serving: (3 oz./serving, approx.) $0.54

Closest Packaged Analog: Pepperidge Farm Cheese Bread
Cost: $5.25
Cost Per Serving (One 2 1/4" Slice): $0.88
Ingredients: Unbromated Unbleached Enriched Wheat Flour, Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamin Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Water, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Yeast, Salt, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Wheat Gluten, Yellow Cornmeal, Malted Barley, Sugar, Vegetable Mono And Digycerides And Soy Lecithin. Garlic Spread Made From: Margarine, Colored With Beta Carotene, Vitamin A Palmitate, Butter, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Dehydrated Garlic, Garlic Powder, Natural Flavors, Parsley, Annatto/Turmeric, Lactic Acid, Oleic Acid, Salt And Xanthan Gum.

The homemade version is cheaper, most probably tastier, and has fewer things like High Fructose Corn Syrup and Soy Lecithin in it.  What would you rather put into your body?


  1. Dave,
    With all that cheese in there it's no wonder it is so rich and filling. I would almost say it is a meal in itself.

  2. Hi, Oriana:

    It's definitely a bread that a Wisconsinite could love. Not that I'm a Wisconsinite or anything.