Thursday, 20 June 2013

Herbs and Cheese loaf

Here is another savoury bread that we enjoy. It goes great with barbecues as well as with pastas and soups. It is pretty easy to put together as well. The whole house smells fantastic when the bread is baking as well :) I tend to use red Leicester cheese for this bread since I like the lovely colour it adds to the bread along with the creamy taste. Buy any hard cheese will work fine. You can even try using soft cheeses like cottage cheese or feta cheese but add them to liquid ingredients (& count them for the liquids measure too!). I try to use fresh herbs as much as possible. But dried herbs will also work well for this bread. During the summer Anjalie & I love to go into the garden to "treasure hunt" for fresh herbs. But I have baked this with dried herbs before with pretty much similar results. When using fresh herbs, try to chop them coarsely to bring out the oil in them.

You will need:
1 and 1/2 scant cups lukewarm water
3 and 1/4 cups unbleached white bread flour
3/4 cup grated Red Leicester/cheddar cheese or any other hard cheese of your choice + 1/4 cup for sprinkling on the top
3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
3/4 cups fresh herbs such as thyme, oregano, basil and rosemary chopped coarsely or equivalent dried herbs.
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp milk powder
1 tbsp butter (at room temperature)
1 tsp instant active dried yeast

 Place the liquids in the bread machine first (unless your bread machine instructions state otherwise). You may need more or less water depending on your flour quality and weather. Sprinkle the flour on the top to cover the water. Place butter, salt, milk powder and sugar on the 4 corners of the bread pan. Place yeast in the middle. Set the bread machine for Medium white bread. Add the herbs and cheeses when the machine beeps for nuts and fruits. Around 10 mins before the baking cycle starts, sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup of cheese on the top. When ready, cool completely on a wire rack before slicing.

You can hand knead this bread as well. Mix all the dry ingredients in a large bowl and add the butter & little water at a time to make a soft bread dough. Knead for 20 mins and leave to rise for 1.5 hrs. Punch it down and shape into a loaf and place in a greased loaf pan. Set aside to rise for another 45 mins. Preheat oven to 160 degrees Celsius (fan assisted). Sprinkle the grated cheese on top and bake for 35-45 mins until the bread is thoroughly cooked and sounds hollow when thumped. Cool completely before slicing.

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