whole wheat sourdough cheese & garlic bread

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I have been working on a nice whole wheat cheese bread for a while but have been running into problems with losing the cheese flavour to the whole wheat. This combination of cheddar, asiago, and parmesian really stands out against the whole wheat. The cheese flavour will be much more intense if you use all white flour in this recipe, but I prefer the heavier texture of the whole grain bread.

Do not be put off by the long list of directions in this recipe - it is mostly just waiting around for things to happen. I am just trying to be detailed for those of you that are interested in sourdough bread baking but have not tried it. Once you have made a few loaves, the steps in the directions will become automatic.

Servings:
4 loaves
Preparation Time:
8 hours to 2 days (Read the cooking instructions for detailed rising, baking, and cooling times.)
Tools
Step 1:
  • medium non-metal bowl
  • wooden spoon
  • clean & dry work surface
  • cling film
Step 2:
  • large non-metal bowl
  • wooden spoon
  • clean & dry work surface
  • cling film
Step 3:
  • clean & dry work surface
  • cutting board & knife
  • small frying pan
  • cheese grater
  • clean towels
  • baking stone, baking sheet, or loaf pans
  • pie pan
  • cooling rack

Ingredients

Step 1:

  • 1/2 c. sourdough starter
  • 1/2 c. water
  • 1 c. unbleached white bread flour
  • 1/4 c. unbleached white bread flour
  • 1 t. olive oil

Step 2:

  • 1 c. water
  • 2 c. whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 c. whole wheat flour
  • 2 t. olive oil

Step 3:

  • 8 cloves garlic, crushed & chopped
  • 1 T. kosher salt, ground fine
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 1/8 lb. sharp cheddar cheese, chopped
  • 1/8 lb. asiago cheese, chopped
  • 2 T. parmesian cheese, grated
  • 2 c. water
  • 5 c. whole wheat flour
Cooking Instructions
Step 1:

  • Place 1/2 c. sourdough starter into the bowl.
  • Add 1/2 c. of water and stir until the starter resembles a very thin pancake batter.
  • Add 1 c. of flour and stir until all of the flour is incorporated into the dough. The dough will be hard to stir and should mostly pull away from the sides of the bowl. (Add a bit more flour and keep stirring if you think it is too sticky to easily remove from the bowl.)
  • Place 1/8 c. of flour onto your work surface and place the dough onto the flour.
  • Keep your hands lightly floured and knead the dough well for 15 minutes. When you are done kneading the dough will not be sticky and it will spring back to shape quickly when given a light squeeze.
  • Clean the bowl. Add the 1 t. of olive oil and coat the dough ball with the oil.
  • Cover the bowl with cling film to help keep the dough from drying out.
  • Wait for the dough ball to double in size. (2 hours @ 75F, 4 hours at 65F, overnight in the refrigerator plus 1 hour to come back to room temperature)

Step 2:

  • Move the, now larger and softer, dough ball into large bowl. Add the 1 c. water and stir it down into a thin batter again.
  • Stir in the 2 c. of flour until it is all incorporated and pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
  • Transfer the dough to your floured work surface and knead for at least 15 minutes.
  • Clean the bowl. Add the 2 t. of olive oil and coat the dough ball with the oil.
  • Cover the bowl with cling film to help keep the dough from drying out.
  • Wait for the dough ball to double in size. (4 to 6 hours @ 75F, 8 to 12 hours at 65F, overnight in the refrigerator plus 2 hours to come back to room temperature)

Step 3:

  • Smash and chop the garlic cloves.
  • Heat the olive oil and garlic over very low heat until you can just start to smell the garlic.
  • Remove the pan from the heat. Do not let the garlic brown.
  • Chop up the cheddar and asiago cheeses and grate the parmesian cheese.
  • Spread a bit of flour out on your work surface.
  • Place the dough ball on the work surface and gently press it out until it is about 1" thick.
  • Place the 2 c. flour and 1 c. water into the bowl along with the olive oil and garlice and stir to combine.
  • Scrape the dough in the bowl out onto the dough on the work surface and flatten it until it covers the first piece of dough.
  • Spread the cheeses across the half of the dough surface.
  • Start kneading the dough by folding the uncheesed half on top of the cheesed half and flattening to 1".
  • Turn the dough 90 degrees. Fold and flatten again. Keep this up until it gets difficult to fold and flatten the dough and all of the cheese is well incorporated.
  • Roll the dough into a tight ball, cover with the towel, and let rest for 30 minutes.
  • Cut the dough ball into four equal pieces, shape into balls, cover and let rest for 15 minutes.
  • Shape the dough into loaves and leave, covered, on a well floured surface for 3 1/2 hours.
  • If you are using a baking stone, it should always be in your oven. But just in case, put it in now.
  • Turn the oven to 450F and wait 30 minutes.
  • Fill the pie pan half full of hot water and place it in the bottom of the oven.
  • Split the loaves about 1" deep. (I like to use one of those cheap, retractable, box cutters.)
  • Place the loaves onto your baking stone and bake them for 35 to 45 minutes.
  • Only take them out before 45 minutes if they start to get too dark. (Your oven may be running a bit hot.)
  • Cool on a wire rack until no more heat is radiating from the loaf, at least 3 hours, before cutting into the loaves.
  • Slice the loaves that you do not eat today and store in freezer bags in the freezer.
  • Warm in the microwave on high for 20 to 30 seconds and it will taste and feel like fresh baked bread again.
Notes


Resting time and temperature are two of three important ingredients that first time bakers do not respect, the third is the cooling time after removing the loaves from the oven. If you have not baked your own bread before; then please follow the recipes the first few times, especially the resting times and temperatures.

I do not heat my house above 65F, so if I want to use the warmer and faster rising times I will place a small pot of simmering water into a cold oven with the bread bowl. This will give me a warmer rise and will, at least until the pot of water cools down, decrease my rising times. You could also place the bread bowl on top of a heating pad, wrapped in a couple layers of towel, set to low.