Once you begin baking bread (and SoupAddict is confident that you will, if you haven’t already, because it’s ever so economical and as satisfying as making soup), you will find that one special recipe that you keep returning to over and over. This is SoupAddict’s.
Every now and then, SoupAddict gets a bee in her bonnet and gets all organized and motivated. And when that happens, she does crazy stuff like freeze lots of starter dough. Especially starter for this bread, which she makes often. Here, SoupAddict is using the frozen fruits of a previous labor, thawed overnight in the fridge. Starter, however, is neither difficult nor a mystery: it’s just flour, yeast, salt and water. You simply need to remember to create the starter the day before you bake the bread (and therein lies the rub for forgetful SoupAddict).
On the day of the bake, mix the starter with the dough ingredients.
Then knead until you can form a smooth ball, like this. Now the dough is ready for its first rise.
In the meantime, grate your cheese. SoupAddict likes to use a combo of smooth and creamy harvarti and sassy sharp Gruyère. But you can use your faves. It’s all good.
At the end of the first rise, turn the dough out on a counter or rolling mat.
This dough is so friendly that you don’t even really have to roll it. You can simply pat it into a rectangle. Here, SoupAddict has unwisely decided to show her unmanicured nails on the Interwebs, for all to see.
Sprinkle da cheese.
Rollin’ rollin’ rollin’. Keep the cheese log rollin’. Rollin’ rollin’ rollin, rawhide! [Ahem] (Never fear, SoupAddict does have moments of lucidity. She’s certain one will come soon.)
Leave the log to its second rise. This cloth is a couche, which is a flour-dusted canvas that helps bread to keep its shape during a rise.
SoupAddict loves da butter. Brush these babies with butter, and then sprinkle the tops lightly with coarse sea salt. SoupAddict loves da sea salt.
Perfect and cheesy. Something that might go really well with, oh, say, soup. Yes, indeedy.
Crusty Cheese-Stuffed Rolls
Adapted from KingArthurFlour.com
1 1/4 cups King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
1/2 cup cool water
all of the starter
1 cup (plus 2 tablespoons to 1 1/4 cups) lukewarm water (90-100°)*
1 teaspoon salt
3 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour
1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
2 1/2 cups grated cheese (Gruyere and havarti are particularly tasty)
2 tablespoons butter, melted
*Use the greater amount of water in winter, when conditions are dry; and the lesser amount in summer, when the weather is humid.
1. To make the starter: Mix the 1 1/4 cups flour, salt, yeast, and 1/2 cup water in a medium-sized bowl. Mix with a wooden spoon until well combined; the starter will be very dry. Cover and let rest overnight at room temperature; it’ll become bubbly.
2. To make the dough: Combine the risen starter with the water, salt, flour, and yeast. Knead by hand (about 8 minutes) or use a stand mixer with the dough hook attachment (about 6 minutes) until the dough is very smooth.
3. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover, and let it rise for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until it’s nearly doubled in bulk. (Do the belly button test: press your index finger into the dough and release. If the indentation remains, the dough is ready; if the indentation closes up, it needs to continue rising.)
4. Gently deflate the dough, and roll out the dough, or pat-and-stretch it, into a 3/4″-thick rectangle, about 9″ x 12″. If the dough keeps wanting to spring back, let it rest for 5 minutes and try again. Spritz with water, and sprinkle on the grated cheese, leaving a 1-inch space around the edges.
5. Starting with a long side, roll it into a tight log, pinching the seam to seal. Place the log, seam-side down, on a lightly floured or lightly oiled surface.
6. Cover the log and let it rise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, till it’s puffy though not doubled in bulk. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 425°F.
7. Gently cut the log into six or seven slices. Take one slice, pinch one of the open edges closed and place pinched-side on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Spread the top open a bit, if necessary, to more fully expose the cheese. Repeat with remaining slices.
8. Use a pastry brush to spread melted butter on the tops of the slices. Sprinkle with coarse salt, if using. Place the sheet immediately in the oven.
9. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the cheese is melted. If you like your bread deep golden brown, go on the side of 20 minutes. Remove them from the oven, and cool on a rack.