Meet the next 5 pounds you will add to your hips

I have to dedicate this blog post to my boyfriend. He telecommutes most of the week and goes in to work a couple of days. On his telecommuting days, he is less stressed out and he is really happy. On the commuting days…he usually somehow seems to run out of time getting ready for work. The most awful things happen to delay him (and they are never his fault!) and he gets crabby as he realizes he is going to show up late and have to work well into the evening. Today was one of those days.

When I used to work, I had mornings like that too. Now I don’t. So when I see his morning spinning out of control, I just try to stay out of the way and hope for the best. This morning I had to be a little in the way because I was on a mission to make a sourdough knockoff of the Gruyere-Stuffed Crusty Loaves from the King Arthur site. I didn’t mean to help delay him, but I may have gotten in the way enough to get a little bit of the stink eye. Well, I’ll make it up to him with what I am about to show him and you. I stumbled onto this recipe the other day and when I saw that they were little loaves packed with cups and cups of cheese until they burst in the oven like little volcanoes of cheesy goodness, I had to say “sign me up!”

So this blog post is dedicated to F. who will see an email on his blackberry when I post to my blog. I am hoping it will make him giddy with anticipation over coming home to eat this bread with some lamb stew. I’m hoping he will smile and not care that I ate half a loaf already (in the interest of testing these breads for the good of the blog, of course!).

I started the dough last night. I decided that a half cup of starter would give the sponge just enough umph to power this dough. The next day when I didn’t see the bubbly mass that the site said I should, I added more starter to the dough itself. It worked out well. I stored the dough in the oven with a touch of heat and the light on and the dough puffed up really high.

These work like cinnamon rolls but you fill them with cheese! Three cups worth. Yes you heard that right!!

These are melty good loaves! In went a mixture of aged sharp provolone and aged sharp white cheddar. I also decided to add a lot of garlic and a mixture of fresh herbs which included rosemary, oregano, thyme, sage and fennel fronds. I wanted the cheese to ooze herbs and garlic. Oh yeah!

Make sure you line your cookie sheets with parchment.

When you bake the loaves, they will ooze and ooze. But they come out of the oven so brown and pretty!

Here is the glamour shot where you get to see the flavor, the fat and the calories just oozing and glopping out of the bread. It was so delicious that I had to have three slices. Good thing my lamb stew is a WeightWatchers recipe, lol!!

These remarkable eruptive loaves are going out to YeastSpotting where you will find a variety of other interesting yeasty items.

Provolone-Cheddar Stuffed Garlic Herb Loaves

Starter:

1 ¼ cups unbleached white flour

1 tsp salt

½ cup active sourdough starter

½ cup water

Dough:

All of the starter

1 ¼ cups water

1 tsp salt

1 ½ cups stone ground whole wheat flour

2 cups unbleached white flour

½ cup active sourdough starter

Filling:

2 cups shredded aged provolone cheese

1 cup shredded aged white cheddar

5 – 6 cloves garlic, minced

3 – 4 tbsp mixed fresh herbs such as rosemary, oregano, thyme, sage, fennel fronds

To make starter: The night before you want to bake, mix together all of the starter ingredients in a large bowl until well combined. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave out on the counter at least 12 hours. The mixture starts out as a dry lump but should expand into a puffy dough lump.

To make dough: Combine starter, water, salt, whole wheat and white flours and sourdough starter. Mix well and then turn out onto a floured board and knead for up to ten minutes until the dough is soft and stops being really sticky. You should be able to stretch the dough without breaking it (window pane test). Grease a large bowl. Set the dough into the bowl and cover with a damp clean towel. If your home is cool, turn your oven on to 350 degrees F. for exactly one minute. Turn off the oven and store the dough in the oven for up to 5 hours or until it has doubled in bulk.

Line your workspace with parchment because this dough is wet and sticky! Turn the dough out onto the parchment, and gently flatten and stretch the dough into a 9” x 12” rectangle. Cover the dough with cheese, garlic and herbs. Roll up cinnamon roll style, beginning from the long end toward you. Cover the dough with the damp towel and allow to rise until extremely puffy but not exactly doubled. Another 2 hours or so.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment. Cut the dough into 4 equal pieces and arrange two pieces cut side up on each sheet. Note: you will have two loaves that are cut on top and bottom. I pinched the bottom seam closed on those two to prevent bottom cheese leakage. Also, you may need to shape the loaves a bit so that they are a bit open on the top, cutting the dough may squish the loaves and you want them to be pretty on top.  Let the dough rest for up to 20 minutes while the oven heats up.

Bake for 20 – 25 minutes until golden brown. Transfer loaves to wire racks to cool. Enjoy while they are still a bit warm so that the cheese will still be soft.

Left over brown rice becomes amazing dinner rolls

I’m sitting here munching on the subject of my photo, thinking about how happy I am that I took on the challenge of nurturing a sourdough starter and subsequently learning enough about baking with it that I can pretty much be as creative as I want to be with my bread.

I avidly read about bread and one thing I notice is that many bakers like to drop some cooked or soaked whole grains into their bread. Lately, we’ve had plenty of brown rice in the house. Oatmeal has never agreed with my boyfriend and recently, he discovered that he can have hot cereal in the morning if he cooks up a pot of short grain brown rice. He adds raisins, walnuts and rice dream to it and he loves it. He makes a big pot at a time and I’ve been quite the opportunist, grabbing some for snacks or a side dish… and now for my sourdough.

For the past couple of weeks I’ve been playing with this recipe. The person who posted it, said it was full-proof, but following his instructions, I ended up with a brick! (A very tasty brick, however so I knew I just needed to try it again). This week, I added extra water and starter. The dough was way too dry last time and it is so much harder to hydrate a dry dough than dry up a wet dough.  I decided to err on the side of moisture. Since the dough was really wet, I just added more flour a little at a time until I liked the consistency of the dough. I also added a lot of brown rice and some sesame seeds for extra flavor. The result was terrific! I ended up making rolls instead of a loaf this time and the rolls baked up with a crisp crust, a dense soft crumb and a wonderful chewy texture thanks to the rice. The only problem I had was that I forgot to slash the rolls and they exploded. I took a picture of their photogenic side.  😉

These yummy rolls will be on YeastSpotting this week. Please click the link to see other wonderful yeasty concoctions!

Whole Wheat and Brown Rice Rolls

1 cup water

1 cup active 100% hydration sourdough starter

2 ½ tbsp olive oil

1 ½ tbsp honey

1 ¼ tsp salt

2 2/3 cups whole wheat flour + a little over 1/3 more as needed

1 ½ cups cooked short grain brown rice

2 tbsp raw sesame seeds

Cornmeal for dusting your peel

In a large bowl, mix together water, starter, olive oil, honey and salt. Add 2 2/3 cups flour, rice and sesame seeds. Mix until well combined. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and begin to knead. The dough will be wet. Start adding the additional 1/3 cup flour a little at a time, kneading well after each addition. You may have to add a little more than a third of a cup until you have a dough that is still moist but not sticky. Knead for 15 minutes until you can stretch the dough without breaking it (windowpane test). Form the dough into a tight ball and transfer it to a large greased bowl. Cover with a kitchen towel. Allow the dough to rise until it is doubled in bulk, 1 ½ – 2 ½ hours.

Flatten the dough gently and fold it. Form it into a ball again and place it back in the bowl. Allow it to rise again, covered, for up to 2 ½ hours until it is doubled in bulk.

Divide the dough into 13 equal pieces and form into little balls. Arrange on a cornmeal covered peel. Cover with a dish towel and allow the dough to rise until puffy, up to another 2 hours.

When you are getting ready to bake, place a baking stone in the oven and preheat your oven to 375 degrees, F. Slash the rolls and then transfer them to the hot oven. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes until they reach an internal temperature of 190 degrees, F. and they sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. Cool completely before serving unless you can’t help yourself. If you can’t help yourself, make sure you are armed with butter.