I’ve been eating a lot of cheese lately. Since we’ve been blessed with some warmer days here in England, picnics have become more frequent and so have the cheese and meat plates. Browsing artisan British cheeses in lovely little Deli’s is one of my favourite things to do. Having beautifully made ingredients in my fridge is something that really inspires me to cook. It’s so gratifying to rummage in the fridge and emerge with an idea for a delicious meal.
Having this alluring loaf made me really look forward to breakfast and lunch for a couple of days. My housemate had leftover buttermilk from her homemade cultured butter, so it was the perfect excuse to make some buttermilk bread.
This isn’t the kind of bread to make a sandwich with. Its delicate and soft with a crisp cheesy shell. The strong basil and rosemary garlic butter leaves grooves in the fluffy buttermilk dough where its been absorbed along with the melted cheddar and parmesan. My favourite way of eating it is to toast it, spread over a thin layer of butter, followed by a layer of thinly sliced cheddar (yes, cheese on cheese bread), a sliced pickled walnut and a few slices of ripe tomato. It’s a very grown up version of a cheese and pickle sandwich. It’s also lovely with avocado and eggs as well as just on it own.
Ingredients – Makes one loaf of bread
- 50g water
- 400g bread flour
- 5g sea salt
- 8g dried-yeast
- 250ml buttermilk
- 25g honey
- 15ml olive oil
Garlic Herb Filling
- 100g unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 1/2 tbsp. fresh basil, finely chopped (approx. 15 leaves)
- 1/2 tbsp. fresh rosemary, finely chopped (approx. 2 sprigs)
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 tsp. sea salt
- 150g mature cheddar, grated
- 30g parmesan, finely grated
- cracked black pepper
- Place the flour and salt together in the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix the salt into the flour and add the yeast. In another bowl, mix together the water, buttermilk, honey and olive oil together. Fit the mixer with the dough hook and on a medium speed, add the wet ingredients to the dry. Continue to mix until a dough is formed and then for a further 5-10 minutes, until the mix is smooth and ‘slaps’ against the bowl as its being kneaded. Place into an oiled bowl and cover with a kitchen towel to prove at room temperature for one hour.
- While your bread is proving, you can prepare the garlic herb butter. Simple mix together the butter, chopped basil, chopped rosemary, minced garlic and sea salt. Keep this to one side and have both the cheeses grated and ready for assembly.
- Oil a loaf tin ready for the dough. Flour your worktop and tip out the proved dough. Knock it back by punching it down and roll it out into a rough 45x35cm rectangle. Spread the prepared garlic herb butter over the entire dough and sprinkle over both the cheddar and parmesan cheese evenly. Finish by cracking some black pepper over the top.
- Roll the dough up from the shortest end into a log (like you would a cinnamon roll.) Make sure to roll the dough tightly so that all the filling stays inside. Cut the dough vertically down the centre and turn both pieces of open dough on their backs so that the layers of filling are exposed. Twist the two pieces of dough around each other like a plait, and tuck the top and bottom under slightly. Lift the dough into your prepared loaf tin and cover with a kitchen towel. Leave to prove for a further hour, until doubled in size. If you live in a hot climate or its summer where you are, keep an eye on the dough as it may need less time to prove dependent on the room temperature.
- Pre-heat the oven to 175°C. Bake the bread for 40-45 minutes. Leave to cool in the tin for at least 20-25 minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack. Leave to cool completely before slicing. Toast and enjoy with lashings of butter!