Monday, February 09, 2009

Goes Well with Soup

Yesterday I posted a recipe for some great Potato and Spinach Soup. This bread, full of the brawny flavors of ale, cheddar and rye, goes really well with soup. The crust has some crunch, the interior is soft and with pockets of holes, some left by melting cheddar. As you can see by the photo of the shaped boule, it is loaded with cheddar shreds.

It probably makes good toast, too, but Sweetie and I just ate it warm and as butter needed.

A huge thank you goes to Jackie for this recipe which comes from Jackie's blog: Toxo Bread. She modified it from Tomi's recipe Brown Interior's Ale Bread recipe, which was in turn adapted from Richard Bertinet's Crust. Since the measurement were given in grams and I'm not fluent in metrics, I may have changed the recipe more than I know when I converted it to cups. The addition of rye was my own idea, too. Some thing about cheddar, rye and ale seemed right and it did turn out a great pair of loaves of bread.

I made two round loaves, better known as boules. That gave maximum crust territory and I love a good crust! Going to send this over to Susan at Wild Yeast for the Yeastspotting roundup this week. If you love bread, it is a great place to go for new ideas.

Ale and Cheddar Bread
adapted from Jackie's recipe at Toxo Bread

1 cup ale (or any beer you’d just as well drink)
1 cup bread flour
1/4 tsp instant yeast (or 1 cup sourdough starter)

Final dough
all of the poolish
2 cups bread flour
½ cup dark rye flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup Vermont sharp cheddar, shredded
1/4 tsp instant yeast
½ cup water, lukewarm
1 teaspoon salt

Mixing the poolish

Combine all of the poolish ingredients, cover and let ferment for 3 to 5 hours, until risen and bubbly.

Mixing the dough
Mix all of the final dough ingredients except for the salt. Knead for 10 minutes by hand until supple. Add salt and cheese, and knead until they’re fully incorporated, another 3 to 5 minutes.

Bulk ferment
In an oiled bowl for two hours, with one stretch and fold at the one hour point.

Shaping and proofing
Shape according to your heart’s desire - I divided the dough into two portions, and made two boules. Proof for one hour. I proofed them on a baking sheet on top of a silicone mat, covered with a linen dish towel.

After proofing, I slashed each boule in a cross shape, and placed the baking sheet into a preheated 450 degree F. oven and baked it about ½ hour, until deep golden brown. If you turn the boule over and tap on the bottom, it should make a hollow sound. Cool before serving.


  1. I think you did just perfect adding the rye! This is gorgeous bread and perfect for your soup.

  2. Anonymous9:40 PM

    What beautiful loaves, and the slashes bloomed nicely too! I bet that's because you had more patience than me while the boules were proofing ha ha. I love the idea of adding rye to the dough (it will make a great match with the ale and cheddar).
    Glad that this recipe worked out well for you!
    - Jackie

  3. That looks SO GOOD!

    Now that we have a working oven again, perhaps I should start cultivating a yeast....

  4. I love me a beer and cheese loaf. Can't make it this weekend, but definitely next!

  5. This new header is so plump and juicy :)

  6. OMG that bread looks and sounds AMAZING! :D

    Thanks for the lovely wishes, sweetie - I hope you and your sweetie have a wonderful V-day too!


  7. Anonymous7:04 AM

    I love that you got this from Jackie who got it from Tommi who got it from Bertinet, all putting your own stamp on it along the way. Beautiful loaf, Elle!

  8. Anonymous9:55 PM

    Love it when cheese melts in bread and leaves holes. Easily the tastiest empty spaces ever. That doesn't make any sense does it?

  9. Tanna, Thanks! I do like the rye addition.

    Jackie, you are an inspiration! I just used your tip about proofing a little longer :)

    Davimack, Yes! Sourdough starter is a nice gift to a new oven. :)

    Peabody, Think of this as power food before your next game.

    Cynthia, Thanks! Sorta Valentines worthy, right?

    Lis, It was a good one...xoxo Elle

    Susan, The best recipes work that way I think...creative borrowing.

    Jude, Yes, very tasty spaces..hee.

  10. An ale and cheddar bread is, I'm sure, great with soup. I want some now!

  11. Elle, you have become such an accomplished bread baker! I hope you'll join us a Bread Baking Buddy very soon.