Cheese sourdough breads are a favorite in my house, and I’ve made them many different ways, using many forms of cheese. My husband likes shredded cheese that is diffused throughout the crumb. My daughter likes big chunks that burn on the crust. My older son just loves it any way, and my younger son doesn’t like cheese inside bread (gasp!?).
In this Durum Herb Cheese Bread blog post I wrote for Breadtopia, I outline several was to add cheese and herbs, and show pictures of the resulting crumb they produce.
Below is my recipe for Cheddar Chive Thyme Sourdough Bread where the cheese and herbs are added after the bulk fermentation.Cheddar Chive Thyme Sourdough Bread
500 g flour (inventory issues made this roughly 1/2 bread flour, 1/2 all purpose; but a million other variations with whole grain flour are good too. I had great results with 20% whole grain kamut for example.)
375 g water
80 g starter
1.5 tsp salt
This fermented for about 9.5 hours. The house was cold at 67’F.
8 ounces of medium cheddar cheese cut into large chunks
a handful of chopped chives
a handful of thyme leaves pulled off the stems
maybe 10 turns of cracked pepper
Technique for adding the cheese and herbs
Place your chunks of cheese, herbs and black pepper in a bowl and turn them several times with your hand to mix.
After the bulk ferment, flour your countertop and scrape out the dough onto it.
Flour the top of the blob and gently press it into a rectangle.
Lay about 1/2 of the cheese-herb filling onto the middle third of the rectangle.
Fold a third of the dough up over the filling in the middle.
Lay the remaining cheese-herb filling (MINUS 3-4 CHUNKS) over the same, taller (now half) of the dough.
Fold the remaining section of dough over the filling. You should have a long narrow rectangle with no cheese showing.
Now fold the left half over the right so that you have a tall squarish shape.
Let this rest for 15-20 minutes.
Prep your basket, preferably with bran flakes as this soaks up the cheese oil nicely, whereas flour is more paste-y.
Slice your remaining 3-4 chunks of cheese thinner and place them and whatever herbs are in your bowl on top of the bran in the basket.
After the rest, gently shape your dough into a boule or batard. You can tuck the sides under and scoot it around. Place it in the banneton – seam side up or down are both fine. When you flip it into you baking vessel, the cheese/bran should be on top.
Let proof 1-2 hours at room temperature or in the refrigerator for 6-10 hours or until the dough is noticeably puffier.
Preheat your oven for 30 minutes at 500 F with the baking vessel inside.
Flip your boule/batard into the hot vessel, score the top, cover and bake:
20 minutes at 500 F
10 minutes at 450 F
10 minutes at 450 F with lid off
*Be careful when removing the loaf from the vessel as the oil from the cheese can burn in a way that plain bread doesn’t. (Drop a burning hot cheese loaf, anyone? Why, yes, I have 🙂