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I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
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Saturday, April 20, 2013

Cheesy Garlic Onion Bread

The dough for the five minutes a day artisan bread (cold fermentation) is enough to make five to six good sized loaves of bread.  Fermentation makes this bread delightfully yummy!  Steam is essential for the development of the crispy yet chewy crust and soft interior.   While this bread can be baked on a baking sheet with a pan of water on the rack below, it is considerably easier to bake this bread and the no knead crusty bread (room temperature fermentation) in a covered Dutch oven.  It creates a controlled environment for baking the bread, keeping the interior of the vessel at a consistent temperature and keeping that steam inside to produce that perfect crust.  An enamel coated, cast iron Dutch oven is rather inexpensive at under $70 for a 4.7 L (5 qt ) depending on the brand. 

ingredients for cheesy garlic onion bread
Continuing with my experiments using the five minutes a day artisan bread dough, I gathered the ingredients to make a loaf of cheesy garlic onion bread.  This was the second loaf of bread from the batch of dough which did level itself after removing dough for the artisan boule (plain) a couple of days before.  Boule is the French term for ball, a common shape for artisan breads.  The dough had a bit stronger sourdough aroma.

Ingredients for the cheesy garlic onion bread were the prepared cold fermented dough, cornmeal, garlic pepper (2 tsp), shredded cheddar cheese (1 c), and chopped onions (2 tbsp).  I used unbleached flour for the prep of the cheesy garlic onion bread.

embedding ingredients for cheesy garlic onion bread into the dough
The normal method of adding extra ingredients to a kneaded bead is directly during the mixing period with the exception of some ingredients like fruits or if making a swirled effect (eg. raisin bread).  According to the sources I found for the no knead crusty bread, additional ingredients can be added during the mixing as well.  Since the dough is already mixed for the long cold fermentation period with the five minutes a day artisan bread, so the ingredients had to be worked into the piece of dough before shaping it.  I cut a piece of dough from the batch and patted it out on a floured cutting board.  Then I sprinkled cheese, onion and garlic pepper over the dough and pressed it in well, turned the dough over and repeated.  I continued working in the additional ingredients by kneading.

prepared cheesy garlic onion bread dough resting
Finally, I shaped the dough into a boule then sprinkled lightly with garlic pepper, onions and cheese.  I placed the boule on a sheet of parchment paper sprinkled lightly with cornmeal on top of a cutting board.  The cutting board added stability so I could move the loaf to a bit warmer location if desired.  I often do this when proofing bread since the dining/livingroom gets quite warm when the sun hits the large southern exposure window, just perfect for proofing bread.  I covered the prepared boule with plastic wrap then let rest for 2½ hours.

I poured 2 cups of water into the Dutch oven and pre-heated it at 450°F during the last half hour that the dough was rising.  Adding water during the pre-heat stage prevents any damage to the Dutch oven.  Any water remaining at the end of the pre-heat period is simply poured out before placing the dough in the Dutch oven.  I cut a slash in the top of the dough before putting it into the Dutch oven.

cheesy garlic onion bread fresh from the oven
I baked the bread covered at 450°F for 50 minutes then removed the lid and intended to bake for another 15 minutes but cut that down to 7 minutes as the crust was getting too dark.  I removed the delicious smelling loaf from the oven to cool on a cooling rack. 

The loaf looked good, quite similar to the cheese and onion bread sold in the grocery store.  The onions were a bit darker than I would have liked and the cheese topping was not as pronounced but still for the first attempt making a cheesy garlic onion bread with the cold fermentation dough, it was a successful loaf.  There was a nice rise and ears on the slash both good signs.  The crust did crackle a bit as it cooled but not as much as the plain loaf did.  The bottom crust was definitely over cooked so I was not happy with that.  Clearly the addition of cheese affected the outcome of the crust causing it to brown in less time than the plain loaf. 

cheesy garlic onion bread crumb formation
While the cheesy garlic onion bread had a nice rise, clearly my method of adding the shredded cheese affected the pore formation.  There were larger pores filled with cheese which isn't necessarily a bad thing but I will be modifying my method to get a bit more even distribution.  I was disappointed that the bottom crust was so dark so the next loaf which will be a plain cheese bread, I have a couple of modifications to try.

In terms of texture and flavour the cheesy garlic onion bread certainly did not disappoint.  The crust was delightfully crispy and chewy.  The interior was soft.  This bread was nicely flavoured with the garlic pepper giving a nice spicy element that paired nicely with the cheddar and onion flavours.  The cheesy garlic onion bread would be a lovely bread to serve with beef stew or cottage pie.  It will definitely be a flavour combination in bread that I will be making again, just tweaking the baking time and method a bit to prevent the bottom of the bread from getting too dark..


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