Prior to the big feasts in a week or so, it is a very much a soup time of year. Nothing like a bowl of soup, cosy and warming to keep the chill out. What I really like is something special to go with it to make a proper lunch rather than a simple token something to eat. As I ever, I want a feast. Earlier this year I shared the recipe for some cheese scones which were fabulous with my quick pea soup. This bread is along similar lines but a little more versatile and could well be your star guest over Christmas. Not only is it perfect with soup or any starters, but a warm loaf of this presented alongside cold turkey or ham will turn leftovers into something properly special.
I made this with the last of my Barber’s 1833 Vintage Reserve Cheddar which you may have seen feature in a couple of recipes recently – a knockout steak, cheese and sweet onion relish toastie and butternut stuffed with leeks and cheese. In both cases this super tangy, full flavoured cheddar was king which, considering Barbers have been making this cheese since 1833 is unsurprising. To get to the point, they have really got the hang of it and their cheese is fantastic.
I make this bread with my regular white loaf recipe and if you omit the cheese and chives that is exactly what you will have, a good everyday loaf should you need one. If you have some blue cheese hanging around over Christmas then use this instead for your bread with some chopped rosemary in place of the chives – it is a sensational combination.
Cheddar and Chive Bread
I usually use this amount to make two loaves, one cheddar and chive and the other gorgonzola and rosemary. The 125g cheese is enough for one loaf, simply double that and the chives if you are making both loaves cheddar and chive. You could of course leave the second loaf plain and have it for breakfast.
500g strong white bread flour
10g fine salt
10g dry instant yeast
50g soft butter
300ml luke warm water
125g strong cheddar, cut into small cubes (this is enough for one of your loaves)
Small bunch of chives, finely chopped (this is enough for one of your loaves)
Mix the flour, salt, yeast, butter and water into a dough and knead for 10 minutes either by hand or with a stand mixer. Cover with a tea towel and leave to rise somewhere warm for at least an hour or until doubled in size. Split the dough in two and roll each out into a rough A4 rectangle, scatter over the cheese and chives and roll up into a log shape squidging the cheese into the dough as you go. If you are leaving one of the loaves plain just form it into whatever shape loaf you like. Place these onto a lined and floured tin, cover with a tea towel and leave for a further hour. Preheat the oven to 200. Slash the top of the loaves a couple of times if you like and then bake for 20 minutes until golden brown, some of the cheese may leak out but that is part of the charm and those bits will be delicious for whomever gets to them first….