I started this blog just over a year ago. It was meant to be about cheese generally, from all over the world. This wasn’t inspired by any sense of hands-across-the-nations internationalism but was simply because I didn’t realise there was any decent cheese in Britain. Seriously. It’s no exaggeration to say that, a year ago, I probably couldn’t have named ten British cheeses.
One of the first cheeses to make me realise what a wealth of cheesy business is going on on these very shores was Gorwydd Caerphilly. I was in Borough Market but, being an artisan cheese virgin, I felt too intimidated to go into any of the continental cheese shops so was wandering around aimlessly when I came across the Gorwydd stall. The chap offered me a bit of the cheese and I was amazed by it – mainly that it didn’t taste sour and chalky, which was what I assumed all Caerphilly cheese tasted like. If you haven’t tried it, you must. It’s lemony and mushroomy and musty around the rind. Mmmmm. I went home, researched it and, in doing so, found a whole new world of cheese right on my doorstep.
So, to celebrate Gorwydd opening my eyes to the world of British cheese, I thought I would entrap it in some nice bread. I wanted to make some pull-apart bread but most of the recipes on the tinterweb seemed to direct me to buy some bread, make some holes in it and shove some cheese in, which wasn’t quite the effect I was hoping for. But then I came across a recipe by Baked by Rachel, which I adapted to include the Gorwydd and some lovely fresh herbs from my garden, which are thriving madly this year (and hence making me wonder why – is every fox in South London coming for a nocturnal widdle on them?)
This is a lovely bread for a lunch or dinner party; it’s light and airy but with melty cheesy bits and herbs. And there’s no fancy carving; just pull a chunk off and eat it.
450g strong white bread flour
1 tbsp sugar
2 ¼ tsp instant yeast
1 ¼ tsp salt
2 tsp chopped fresh herbs (I used oregano and chives)
2 tbsp olive oil
250ml plus 2 tbsp warm water
2 tbsp melted butter
100g grated Gorwydd Caerphilly
1 large pinch dried oregano
Freshly ground black pepper
Place the first five ingredients into a large mixing bowl. Mix and make a well in the centre. Pour the wet ingredients (except the melted butter) into the well and start bringing the flour into the middle to form a dough. Keep mixing and kneading it until you have a smooth ball of dough.
Cover the bowl and put it in a warm place until the dough doubles in size.
Roll the dough out to a rectangle about 12 inches by 20 inches. Brush the surface with half of the melted butter and cover with the cheese, dried oregano and a good grind of pepper.
Cut the rectangle into six strips and place them one on top of another.
Cut the strips into six portions.
Place the portions of bread in a buttered loaf tin and leave it somewhere warm for about an hour until it doubles in size.
Brush with more melted butter and place into a pre-heated oven at 180˚c / 160˚c fan assisted / Gas Mark 4 and bake for 35 minutes. Cover it with foil for the last half of the cooking time so that it doesn’t get too brown.
Because this recipe includes cheese and seasonal herbs, I am sharing it with Cheese, Please! this month.
Because this is a bit of a celebratory post and because I’ve used yeast and herbs, I’m taking it over to Fiesta Friday for a good old knees-up. I haven’t been there before so hope they’re nice and it doesn’t turn out to be one of those parties where they make you put your keys in a bowl and you can never look them in the eyes again. This month’s challenge is to make something using yeast and herbs which is where I got the idea to make a bread.
I am also linking up with Cooking with Herbs, hosted by Lavender and Lovage, as I’ve used fresh herbs in this recipe.