Local cheese & ale sourdough

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A sourdough boule made from ingredients that are fairly local to me in Surrey, UK. The cheese (Spenwood) is strong and nutty; the ale (Hogs Back Brewery) is so easy to drink! They do not take over from the deep tang of the bread but they are most certainly there as complementary bedfellows!

Toasted and buttered, this bread is seriously heavenly; there is certainly no chance of having left-overs!

 

More on sourdoughs

Full details on sourdough, including how to make a starter, along with tips for handling, shaping and scoring a dough, is on my post here.

Variations:

The bread works excellently with cheeses such as Parmesan, Cheddar or white crumbly cheeses such as Cheshire or Lancashire. And of course different ales work well.

Cheese & ale sourdough: makes 1 large boule

  • 375g strong white plain flour
  • 6g fine sea salt
  • 100g sourdough starter, fed the day before (see above)
  • 240ml ale of choice
  • 100g cheese of choice, grated or roughly cubed

(1) Mix the ingredients together in a bowl and do a series of “stretch and folds” over about 2 hours, covering with a damp cloth in between the stretch and fold sessions. and leave for about an hour. Alternatively, knead together traditionally for 10-15 minutes.

NB: see my post here for notes on “stretch and fold”.

(2) Place in a large bowl and cover with a damp cloth. Leave at room temperature for a few hours to help it start to ferment and then transfer to the fridge at least overnight or for up to 48 hours: the longer you leave it, the tangier the bread.

(3) Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface and elave it there for about 15 minutes or so. Give it a few light stretch and folds to help the dough regain its structure, but trying not to knock out a lot of the air in there. Shape into a boule and place in to a banneto that has been dusted well with rice flour or semolina: this is for extra insurance so the the dough will turn out easily without sticking after its second proving.

(4) Dust the dough’s surface with flour and pop inside a large plastic bag. Leave to prove at room temperature until the dough has well risen. Don’t over-prove: the dough should still feel fairly firm with a bit of bounce when you gently prod it; it shouldn’t feel too delicate as if it is about to collapse!

(5) Preheat the oven to its highest setting and place a solid roasting tin on the bottom and a solid baking sheet on the top shelf.

(6) Turn the dough onto the hot baking sheet and score with a razor: just a few determined slashes, not going too deep. Place in the oven and pour some cold water into the roasting tin to create a good amount of steam and close the door. Bake for 10 minutes at this setting before turning the oven down to 220C(fan). Continue to bake for a further 30-40 minutes or so: the bread should have a deep golden brown colour and sound very hollow underneath.

(7) Transfer to a wire rack and cool fully before slicing and eating.

Author: Philip

Finalist on Britain’s Best Home Cook (BBC Television 2018). Published recipe writer with a love of growing fruit & veg, cooking & eating.

8 thoughts on “Local cheese & ale sourdough”

  1. Looks wonderful. I’m looking forward to trying it with our Canadian ales/sharp cheddars. I’m curious as to what extent the still living yeasts in the ale influence and interact with the bread yeasts. I’m also wondering what the final hydration works out to be.

    Like

    1. Thank you. Yes it would taste great with other ales and cheeses. The final hydration is between 68% and 78%. In my first one, I went for a slightly lower hydration but I have made it even higher hydration: mind you, I prefer a less open crumb for such full-flavoured loaves.

      Liked by 1 person

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