I thought I’d start my first actual cooking post with one of my favourite things – homemade bread. I WAS going to share a lovely roasted tomato and parmesan focaccia bread with you, but my yeast must have been dead cause it was like a frickin hockey puck! Yes, even us keen bakers have disasters, in fact, I pretty much live off my disasters – you either win or you learn…..
Anyhow, rather than not share anything, I thought I’d fire up a tried and true recipe that always tastes good. You can leave the cheese and/or onion out, but…….idk, why would you?? Or you can sub it out for other things, like garlic or goat’s cheese, or bacon, or chorizo, or olive….you get the idea.
I’ve also cut this in half and slathered over garlic butter and stuck it in the oven for 10 mins for the most delish garlic bread. It’s also lovely to make chicken sarnies with.
Homemade Cheese and Onion Bread
- 500 gms strong bread flour
- 7 gms easy bake/dried yeast
- 1.5 tsp salt
- 1 tsp sugar
- 15 gms soft butter or 15 mls olive oil
- 300 mls tepid water
- 1 sachet dried onions (about 15 gms) – This is a fab ingredient. Firstly it’s full of onion flavour, but it’s also really convenient. I often use it in soups and casseroles.
- 50 gms grated cheddar cheese
2. If you are using a KitchenAid or other mixer, the dough hook is the best for bread making.
3. Give the dry ingredients a bit of a mix together and then add in the butter or olive oil, and mix until it is combined.
4. The dried onion needs to go in at this stage. I soak it in a tablespoon of water, just to soften in for a couple of minutes, and then add it into the flour and mix together – here’s what the onions look like before soaking……
5. Now, slowly add in the tepid water to the flour mix. By tepid, I mean blood temp. Usually 1 part boiling water to 2 parts cold gets you the right temperature. If you put your finger into the water, you shouldn’t really be able to feel the temperature. If the water is too cold or too hot it will kill the yeast, so a mild temp works best.
6. Mix it together for about 10 mins until it becomes lovely and smooth. Again, you can do this by hand – it’s a bit of a workout, but it will come together if you knead it on a floured surface for about 15 minutes. You can see here how the texture of my dough changes – it also cleans the bowl for me – handy!
7. Once it’s come together and looks smooth, tip it onto a floured work surface and knead it for a couple of minutes to get it together into a soft, round mass – smooth as a baby’s bum! Kneading together just means pushing and pulling the dough with the heel of your hand.
8. Place the dough into a bowl and cover with cling film or a clean tea towel. Place it somewhere warm like your hot-press, beside a radiator or I left mine on the top of my oven which was turned on.
9. After about 1 hour, it will double in size. At this stage, pre-heat your oven to 230c/450f/gs mk 8
10. Tip it out onto a floured work surface and knead for a couple of minutes. The dough now needs to be shaped into whatever type of loaf you want and left to rise again for another 30 mins. I have chosen a few different shapes to show you the variations, you can also put this in a loaf tin to create a classic loaf shape.
11. I let it rise for about 30 minutes, it will double up in size. Then I sprinkled it with the cheese and stuck it in the oven for around 20-25 minutes.
I also placed a dish with water in the bottom of the oven – this is a great tip. The steam coming off the water helps the bread to form a nice crust
12. After about 20 minutes, check the bread. If it looks all brown and bubbling, and if you tap the bottom of it and it sounds hollow, it’s ready.
AND IT’S DELICIOUS!!!