Monday, July 14, 2014

Baker's Corner: Cheesy Garlic Herb Whole Wheat Loaf

So I'm currently in a healthy eating phase (I go through these phases a few times a year!). For me that means eating a lot more whole grains, low-fat dairy, greens, nuts, fresh vegetables and fruits. Normally, I shun the brown stuff in favour of the white (with the exception of brown rice which I really like). I'm not a huge fan of brown bread or brown pasta but nowadays I make it a point to preferably opt for multigrain or at least whole wheat products. I really hope this fad will become more of a permanent thing! 

Bread is something that is found in my fridge 24x7, 365 days. For the past few months, I've been having breakfast at home which is unusual for me because usually I get myself a steamed vegetable pau and a portion of pink dragon fruit from the canteen at my workplace everyday. My breakfast has now become quite a standard affair comprising of a grilled cheese sandwich made with multigrain bread and low-fat organic sharp cheddar, a handful of fresh strawberries and a glass of low-fat skimmed milk. There is a local bakery near my place which makes really good multigrain bread which I really dig so I get the bread for my breakfast from there. I've resorted to eating my regular pau and fruit as a mid-day snack instead. It helps me considerably with portion control during lunch

Anyway, I have been contemplating baking a loaf of bread at home for quite sometime but I never got around to doing it. I recently saw a version of Cheesy Garlic Herb Pull-Apart Bread on Foodgawker and I was tempted to try it out. I made a few modifications to the original recipe by substituting bread flour with 100% whole wheat flour and whole milk with skimmed milk. I also modified the technique to make it more like a regular loaf rather than a pull-apart bread. My intention was to be able to slice the loaf into uniform slices so I could use it for my grilled cheese sandwich. I've provided the description for both techniques so you could follow whichever you prefer. 



Here is the recipe. Go on....bake your own loaf of bread at home. It's super fun I assure you!

Cheesy Garlic Herb Whole Wheat Loaf

Preparation time: ~ 90 mins
Baking time: 35 min
Makes: 1 loaf
Recipe Category: Breakfast/Western
Recipe Level: Easy
Recipe Source: Adapted from here

Ingredients:

3 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
2 cloves garlic, chopped small
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup milk (I used skimmed milk)
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons warm water
another 2 tablespoons olive oil
another 1 teaspoon dried basil
another 6 cloves garlic, chopped small
1/2 cup cheese, grated (I used a mixture of cheddar, monterey jack and parmesan here)

Method:
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the flour, sugar, yeast, salt, thyme, 1/2 teaspoon basil, and 2 cloves of garlic. Mix on low speed until everything is combined.
  2. Add the 2 tablespoons of olive oil, milk, and water, and mix on medium speed until the dough comes together into a shaggy, sticky ball. Switch to the dough hook and mix, still on medium speed, for 3-5 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic.
  3. Transfer the dough to a greased bowl, cover it with plastic wrap, and let it rise in a warm place until it has doubled in size (about 1 hour).
  4. Spray a loaf pan with cooking spray or grease lightly with olive oil.
  5. On a well-floured surface, roll the dough into a large rectangle (about 12x20 inches). Brush the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil onto the dough, then cover it with the remaining basil and garlic. Top everything with 3/4 of the cheese. Set the rest of the cheese aside
  6. Now you can go two ways with this - A. You can fold the dough into multiple vertical layers (about 6 folds), fold this into half and pack it into the loaf tin so it snugly fits or else, B. Using a sharp knife, cut the rectangle of dough into 6 strips, and stack the strips on top of each other. then cut the stack into 6 equal smaller stacks. transfer all of the stacks into the prepared loaf pan, placing them on their sides against each other so that the cut sides of the dough are on the outside. The latter technique would result in a pull-apart bread.
  7. Cover the loaf with plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm place until it has doubled in size again, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350˚F/180˚C.
  8. Top the loaf with the remaining cheese and bake it in the oven for about 35 minutes, until it is golden.
  9. Let the loaf cool for a few minutes in the pan before turning it out. 
  10. Serve warm!




I
Notes:
  • You can try this recipe using a combination of dried herbs of your choice
  • You could add in dried red chilli flakes if you want the bread to have some spice
  • You could use whatever kind of cheese you like. Go for a low-fat version if you want to make it healthier
  • You could add in sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, flax seeds, quinoa and millet to convert this into a hearty multigrain bread

Cheers,


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