Camembert, Sultana & Ale Bread

Made with ripe Camembert that melts wonderfully into the dough as it bakes this is a seriously flavoured bread. I had this bread as part of an amazing bread selection served at a restaurant a while ago and couldn’t wait to try making it for myself. And for me a few stunning breads to nibble on prior to a meal is one of life’s real pleasures!

A ripe Camembert makes all the difference here and the raisins add a sweet squidginess which works well with the richness of the Camembert. The use of a poolish does add to the overall flavour of the bread but it can be omitted if preferred.

One of the many things I love about this bread is the way a few of the chunks of Camembert burst out during the baking – particularly with the ficelles – and turn wonderfully nutty as they form a crust on the bread.

A sourdough version of this bread also works very well indeed. Simply omit the poolish and the yeast in the main dough, and replace with about 300g of sourdough starter.

Camembert, sultana & ale bread (makes 2 loaves or several baguettes)

Poolish:

  • 80g strong white plain flour
  • 80g rye flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon easy-blend yeast
  • about 160ml water

Bread:

  • 450g strong white bread flour
  • 100g rye flour
  • 8g easy-blend yeast
  • 10g fine sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 250ml ale
  • about 100ml water
  • 250-300g ripe Camembert, torn into small chunks: include the rind
  • 150g raisins

(1) Make the poolish the night before: mix the flours and yeast together and add enough water to make a very thick batter. Cover with clingfilm and leave to rise overnight or for between 12 and 18 hours or so.

(2) Mix the flours and yeast together. Add the poolish, the oil, the ale and enough water mix to form a soft dough. Knead for 15 minutes or so until the dough is elastic. Leave to prove until doubled in size.

(3) Add the Camembert and raisins and work in gently, trying not to squash the cheese too much: I find it easiest patting the dough gently to a rough rectangle, scattering over some of the cheese and the sultanas, folding the dough over onto itself and repeating a few times.

(4) Turn out onto a slightly floured surface and shape as desired, popping the dough into well-floured bannetons, oiled loaf tins or baguette trays…….

(5) Cover and prove until doubled in size. Score with a sharp knife or blade and bake in a preheated oven at 220C(fan) for about 30-40 minutes for loaves, turning the oven down to 200C after 10 minutes. For baguettes, bake for about 20 minutes at 220C until deep golden.

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5 comments

  1. I really need to try this one!!! Incredible!

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  2. Fascinating combination!

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  3. It all works so well and is currently one of my favourite breads. And it is wonderful toasted with butter on.

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  4. I made some rolls from half the quantity and they were terrific. So much so that the next day I made up a full amount. Artisan bread at a fraction of the cost and with tons of taste. What’s not to love?

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    1. thanks Beth. Glad they turned out well. I think they have such a nice savoury flavour, especially when you come across the gooey bits of melted Camembert

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