BBD#16 – Ale and cheddar bread

Ale and cheddar bread

Ale and cheddar bread, complete with a crackling crust

Bread and cheese, two simple yet fundamental foods – they are food groups, right? – come together for Bread Baking Day #16, hosted this month by Temperance of High on the Hog.

breadbakingday16

What to make? I came across a fantastic looking loaf that used ale in the poolish and gave metric measurements – it’s scale time! My thought was that I could add shredded cheese with sass in a crusty ale bread. Now the only little problem was that I don’t drink (I know, I know) and therefore had no idea what ale to use.  I barely know what ale is. There’s a guy in my lab who brews his own beer so I asked him for the name of a “good ale.”

“Newcastle. Go with Newcastle.”

That night, I stopped by the liquor store on my way home from the lab, and it was only after I walked into the store that I realized I had no idea what the bottle of Newcastle Ale looked like. It took me a while to find it (and to make sure that I could buy a single bottle) and I must have looked like a complete fool, so here’s what Newcastle Brown Ale looks like to spare you from potential future embarassment. Actually, this is really just for my future reference:

Newcastle Brown Ale

Newcastle Brown Ale

Ale and Cheddar Bread

Slightly modified from Brown Interior’s Ale Bread, which was in turn adapted from Richard Bertinet’s Crust

Note: Try as I might, I wasn’t able to find Humboldt Fog anywhere and chose the next best thing: freshly shredded Vermont sharp cheddar. I think the sharpness of the cheddar matched well with such a crusty, rustic loaf and will definitely be making this again. Again, as in really soon.

Ingredients

Poolish

- 125 g ale (or any beer you’d just as well drink)
- 125 g bread flour
- 1/4 tsp instant yeast

Final dough

- all of the poolish
- 750 g bread flour
- 50 g whole wheat flour
- ~80 g Vermont sharp cheddar, shredded
- 1/2 tsp instant yeast
- 500 g water, lukewarm
- 12 g salt

Directions

Mixing the poolish

Combine all of the poolish ingredients, cover and let ferment for 3 to 5 hours, until risen and bubbly.

Um, so now what am I supposed to do with the rest?

Um, so now what am I supposed to do with the rest?

Poolish at T=0

Poolish at T=0

Poolish at T = 6 hrs (I was late getting back from the lab)

Poolish at T = 6 hrs (I was late getting back from the lab)

Mixing the dough

Mix all of the final dough ingredients except for the salt. Knead for 10 minutes by hand until supple, and boy howdy does this dough get supple – it’s a really pleasant dough to work with. Add salt and cheese, and knead until they’re fully incorporated, another 3 to 5 minutes.

Dough, before adding the cheddar and salt

Dough, pre cheddar and salt

Dough, post cheddar (what look like little knobby things) and salt

Dough, post cheddar (what look like little knobby things) and salt

Bulk ferment

In an oiled bowl for two hours, with one stretch and fold at the one hour point.

Shaping and proofing

Shape according to your heart’s desire – I divided the dough into two portions, one for a boule and one for a sandwich loaf. Proof for one hour.

Ever wonder what dough looks like on the inside? Here's a cross-section, although I already deflated quite a few of those air pockets. French bread, such as baguettes, is fashioned from dough with lots of irregular air pockets.

Ever wonder what dough looks like on the inside? Here's a cross-section, although I already deflated quite a few of those air pockets. French bread, such as baguettes, is fashioned from dough with lots of irregular air pockets.

place a linen (not cotton, which would stick to the dough) towel on top of a medium-sized mixing bowl, and sprinkle flour (or in my case, wheat bran) on top of the towel.

I proofed the boule in a makeshift banneton: place a linen (not cotton, which would stick to the dough) towel on top of a medium-sized mixing bowl, and sprinkle flour (or in my case, wheat bran) on top of the towel.

Place the shaped boule in the bowl, seam side up. That means the top of the boule should end up being covered with wheat bran when you flip it out for baking.

Place the shaped boule in the bowl, seam side up. That means the top of the boule should end up being covered with wheat bran when you flip it out for baking.

Cover the dough with a slightly damp towel

Cover the dough with a slightly damp towel. Partying yeast love a little warmth and humidity.

Baking

After proofing, I flipped the wheat bran-topped shaped boule out of the bowl onto a cutting board, slashed it, and placed it into a preheated Pyrex bowl with the lid on. The boule was then loaded along with the proofed sandwich loaf into a preheated 475F oven. The heat was turned down to 450F after 5 minutes, the lid of the Pyrex bowl was removed after ~10 minutes and everything was baked for a total of around 25 minutes, until the crust was a golden or rich, caramel brown.

I got a little slash-happy with the boule.

I got a little slash-happy with the boule.

Sandwich loaf, topped with sunflower seeds.

Sandwich loaf, topped with sunflower seeds. Notice how there was a lot of tearing from the slash? I probably could have let the loaves proof for a lot longer.

Ale and cheddar bread crumb.

Ale and cheddar bread crumb. The bigger holes were created when the cheese melted.

* * *

I’m sending these loaves over to Temperance of High on the Hog for Bread Baking Day #16, Zorra of 1x umrühren bitte as the wonderful founder of Bread Baking Day, Susan at Wild Yeast for YeastSpotting, and Tommi at Brown Interior for kindly sharing her recipe in the first place – thank you!

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28 Responses to “BBD#16 – Ale and cheddar bread”

  1. rainbowbrown Says:

    That sounds absolutely delicious. I think cheddar is a better pairing for a brown ale than Humboldt Fog, so I’m glad you ended up with those two together. I’m most definitely going to try this version – what a great adaptation. And they’re most beautiful.

    • toxobread Says:

      Tommi: I’m still going to keep an eye out for Humboldt Fog because it sounds way too good to miss out on. Thanks again for sharing your recipe – it’s a winner!

  2. Rajee Says:

    Wow! Wonderful Job! It’ll soon be a big hit!!!, Jacqueline

  3. Rajee Says:

    Jacqueline, I feel like seeing you. Hugs from me!

  4. Kevin Says:

    Ale and cheese baked in bread sounds great!

  5. Susan/Wild Yeast Says:

    You will have to bake this again soon to use up the rest of that Newcastle. Love the bran crust!

  6. toxobread Says:

    Rajee, Kevin: thanks! I brought the boule to work the next day and everyone liked it.

    Susan: I’m definitely going to make this again soon. The bran crust was one of my favourite parts (the others being the great taste and hint of cheese).

  7. Jie Jie Says:

    I like the crust and it looks very soft inside?
    Cheese + beer looks a good combination.

    Good work!!

  8. toxobread Says:

    Jie Jie: Thanks! When we cut into it the next day, the crust and crumb were perfect: crackly, crisp crust on the outside, but creamy and just the right amount of moisture and flavour in the inside (crumb). You couldn’t taste anything overwhelmingly alcoholic but I think the beer did give it an extra boost in flavour.

  9. YeastSpotting February 6, 2009 | Wild Yeast Says:

    [...] Ale and Cheddar Bread [...]

  10. Katie Says:

    Haha, Newcastle Brown Ale is the best you can get. I live round the corner from the Brewery (which isn’t actually in Newcastle but just over the river in Gateshead, now you know haha) and it doesn’t half stink when they’re brewing the hopps!

    Make sure the star on the back is blue if you decide to drink it, gives you a poorly tummy if you have it warm :)

    Wonderful bread, I’ll certainly have to give this a go!

    Katie xox

  11. Elra Says:

    Such a fantastic looking bread. Love it!
    Cheers,
    Elra

  12. toxobread Says:

    Katie: Thanks for the lowdown on Newcastle! I didn’t even notice the star on the back of the bottle; guess I was too excited about making the bread that night. Thanks for dropping by :)

    Elra: Thanks! It tasted as great as it looks!

  13. Andrea Says:

    I saw this on High on the Hog and had to come by and tell you how great it looks. Way to go Jackie!!

  14. glenda Says:

    The bread looks great! Nicely done. I don’t drink either and might try a non-alcoholic type drink or maybe a more stronger sourdough starter. Also I like the idea of the wheat bran. Thanks for putting this on.

  15. toxobread Says:

    Andrea: awww, thanks! You’re so nice :)

    Glenda: I couldn’t taste anything “beery” in the bread except for a more complex flavour – think hearty and rustic. I think this recipe has convinced me to experiment more with beer in bread ha ha. Wheat bran – yes! It also made the crust easier to score and crackly once the loaf was done baking.

  16. Jude Says:

    I knew I shouldn’t have visited your blog… My scale broke, you see, so I can’t do any bread baking for a while :(
    Great looking loaves…

  17. Elle Says:

    Totally beautiful. Thanks for the tip about longer proofing when it puffs out so much from the slash…still learning…so much to learn about bread baking. The ale and cheese is surely a winner.

  18. mimi54 Says:

    This looks entirely edible. Devourable. Rip-it-apart-and-stuff-it-in-your-mouthable. I’m going out to get a bottle of ale now.

  19. Madam Chow Says:

    This looks absolutely incredible!

  20. toxobread Says:

    Jude: Oh no! :( I’m so sorry to hear that your scale died a horrible death, but it has clearly served you well. Hope you’ll be able to get back to baking soon.

    Elle: yes, I’m figuring things out as I go too. It was getting late when I was making this boule so I underproofed it, but if you are patient and give it the proper amount of time to proof, the slashes will open up beautifully for nice, controlled oven spring.

    Mimi54: It took some serious will-power to not cut into the loaf until the next day, when I brought it in to the lab to share. Do you think it’s possible that waiting and waiting and thinking about how it will taste, made it taste even better? Good luck with the baking, and let me know how it goes!

    Madam Chow: thanks!

  21. gócbếp Says:

    What a wonderful bread! I love ALE! Sounds very tasty! yum..yum….

  22. Michael Says:

    yum, that looks delicious.
    alcohol in any type of food makes my day, paired with cheese is even better! =D

    • toxobread Says:

      Mike: Ha ha, alcohol in food makes it better *only* if the finished item doesn’t reek of alcohol. Boozy pasta or bread that gives off a “hooch” does not a good meal make. When done well though, it’s awesome!

  23. Brianna Says:

    I’m saving this recipe for when I gather the ingredients for Cheddar Ale Soup, so I can make bread bowls. The loaves look awesome.

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