April 24, 2009

Leftovers Make Cheese Croutons

You gotta love cheese to enjoy this bread. I've been a big fan of cheese most of my life. When I was pregnant the second time I had a lactose intolerance. Cheese was the dairy product I missed most. Even one slice of this will sooth a cheese craving.

The dough has lots of grated cheddar cheese, plus some grated Parmesan. Here and there are bits of salty feta, too.Here is a photo of the bread ready to roll into a loaf, spread with the herb, lemon zest and lots of feta.

When Sweetie bought a five pound bag of grated cheese at Costco I discovered just how much cheese that is! There are bags in the freezer, each with 2 cups of the cheese, plus a big gallon bag in the fridge. Seemed like a good time to make a bread with cheese.

This one is pretty simple, using sourdough starter, some bread flour and whole wheat flour, a little olive oil, some milk, a bit of sugar and salt, and both cheddar and Parmesan cheeses.

Once the dough was set to rise, I decided to jazz it up a bit by making a swirl in the loaf. The added flavors of the swirl include lemon zest, fresh marjoram, and feta cheese. It turned out that I didn't use enough marjoram to really make it a visual swirl (I used fresh marjoram from the garden, but it's early enough in the season that I only had a tablespoon, minced, once I was done),
but the baked bread is alive with the flavors of the herb, lemon and feta. Sort of like a quick trip to Greece, maybe. With three kinds of cheese, it's a true Cheese Bread.

On the off chance that there are leftovers, you can cut them up, toast the cubes, and have cheese croutons for salad or to top soup.

The dough is soft, but not sticky. I didn't glaze the top, but I did slash it diagonally. Eat this while it is still warm and you won't need to add a thing. I did find that ti took longer to bake than I had thought it would. Do bake it until it gives a hollow sound when the bottom is tapped when you turn it out to cool on the wire rack. If you don't get that sound, put it back in the pan and baked some more. You can tent it with foil while it finishes baking if the crust gets too brown.

Once it is cool it becomes a great sandwich bread, especially for cured meats like salami or ham. If you are a true cheese fanatic, try making a grilled cheese sandwich with this bread. Outstanding!

Cheese Cheese Cheese Bread with Herb and Lemon
1 cup sourdough starter
1 cup milk at room temperature
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup cheddar cheese, finely shredded
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup whole wheat flour
2-3 cups bread flour, divided
2 tablespoons freshly minced marjoram (oregano could be used instead)
1 teaspoon lemon zest - yellow part only
about 1 cup feta cheese

In stand mixer bowl, mix together the sourdough starter, milk, olive oil, sugar, salt, cheddar and Parmesan cheeses. Take the whole wheat flour and 1 cup of the bread flour and mix together in a medium bowl. Use the dough hook on the mixer and add the flour mixture to the sourdough mixture. Add additional bread flour and let machine knead the dough as you do until the dough is soft but not sticky.

Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for another minute or two. Shape into a ball and place ball in oiled bowl or whatever container you use to let bread dough rise in. Lightly oil the top of the ball, then cover with plastic wrap, place in a warm, draft free place and let rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 1/2 hours.

Punch dough down and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Using your hands. spread the dough into a rectangle roughly 9" x 11". Distribute the herb and zest evenly over the surface, leaving about an inch at the ends free of herb and lemon zest. Distribute the feta evenly over the herb-lemon zest mixture, again leaving the ends free of cheese. Roll up jelly roll fashion along the long edge and seal the edges by pinching them. Turn under the ends and place, seam side down, in a bread pan. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft free place until the bread just reaches the top of the pan, about an hour.

Bake in a preheated 350 degree F. oven for about 45 minutes or until hollow sounding when bottom is tapped. Let cool on a wire rack before slicing.
Makes one loaf.

This is my entry this week in Susan of Wild Yeast's Yeastspotting (http://www.wildyeastblog.com/category/yeastspotting/ ) event, a wonderland of delightful recipes collected each week to bemuse and inspire those who love to bake with yeast.


  1. Croutons sound wonderful BUT grilled cheese, now that sounds truly revolutionary! And I see whole wheat flour as well.

  2. Very nice idea.
    But I think you will need to bake two loafs to have some leftovers for croutons. :)

  3. Oh Andreas took the words right out of my mouth (or my fingers?)!

  4. I am loving this recipe. What a great idea.

  5. Oh MY -- seriously, be still my beating heart!


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