Friday, April 5, 2013

GRUYÈRE-STUFFED CRUSTY MINI BREADS


French Quarter, New Orleans
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Back from a mother-daughter trip to New Orleans, it's time for our monthly ABC baking again. Our April project could be right out of the French Quarter: cute little cheese stuffed loaves that look like mini volcanoes, overflowing with crispy bits of Gruyère.

And, like every bread we saw in New Orleans, they are all-white, without even a trace of whole grain.

This recipe, GRUYÈRE-STUFFED CRUSTY LOAVES, from King Arthur Flour website, was developed by the French Pastry School in Chicago (Chef Jacquy Pfeiffer also created the tasty Alsatian Beer Bread.)

Starting the evening before, you have to mix a starter from bread flour, water and yeast, and let it rise at room temperature overnight, so that it is puffy and spongy when you scrape it into the mixer bowl the next morning.

A well fermented starter shows a spongy structure

All ingredients are then mixed into a "smooth dough", no further specifications. After all flour was hydrated I gave it a 5 minutes rest for autolyse, and then kneaded the dough for 6 minutes, with a little more water added than the lower amount given in the recipe. The dough should feel a bit sticky first, but only tacky when fully kneaded.

I gave it one stretch & fold, placed it in an oiled container, set the kitchen timer for one hour, and walked the dog. When we came back, the dough had almost managed to escaped from its hold. Though my kitchen was not overly warm, it already had more than doubled!

"Almost" doubled? Slight understatement!

Patting and stretching the risen dough into a square is easy. It is then sprayed or brushed with water, and sprinkled with grated cheese.

Our supermarket had smoked Gruyère as this week's special offer, so I chose that for my filling. I had no garlic oil (optional ingredient), I sprinkled some garlic powder over the grated cheese. Instead of the (optional) pizza seasoning, I used my usual pizza enhancer, a teaspoon of Herbes de Provence.

Smoked Gruyère filling


You roll the square into a long log - no big problem - pinch the seam to seal, place it seam side down, and let it rise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. It should have grown, but not doubled. Always use the finger poke test to gauge whether it's time to put it in the oven, never go just by looks or time.

You don't know what this is? Poke the dough gently, the dimple should not spring back, only fill a little bit, but remain visible. If it fills completely, the bread has not proofed enough, if the dimple stays just as deep as you poked it, it might be overproofed already (unless it is a very stiff dough with grains and seeds.)

Cut the log in 2 or 4 even slices, for larger or smaller loaves (I chose smaller ones.) Place the pieces on a parchment lined baking sheet, cut side up and spread open to expose the cheese. From the looks of it, I don't really know how you want to do that with the larger loaves (making chimneys?)

The mini loaves are placed on the sheet, cut side up, to show the filling

I had some egg wash leftovers, so I brushed the sides with egg. After 20 minutes the cheese bits on  top started to get dark, so I removed the breads from the oven. The crust could have been a bit crispier (and, also, softened rather quickly), I should have probably covered the loaves with tin foil and baked them a bit longer.



They tasted very good, especially when toasted. But they tended to fall apart, along the cheese filling lines. That's another reason why I would make them smaller next time.

COMMENTS:
These savory breads are great as a snack, and, with their attractive looks, would grace any party buffet. Since they tend to fall apart along the cheese filling, when sliced, I would make even smaller pieces, like pin wheels, cutting the log into 6 to 8 (instead of 4) slices.

The next time I would try to cut a bit down on the instant yeast (the dough rose very fast), from 2.5 grams to 2 grams.

I substituted 10% of the bread flour with white whole wheat (you could easily do 25%), used Herbes de Provence instead of the (optional) pizza dough seasoning, and sprinkled some dried garlic powder instead of the (optional) garlic oil over the filling.

Next time I would make them smaller, like pin wheels
Submitted to YeastSpotting
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16 comments:

  1. Hi Karin,
    Your bread looks great! Yes, the starter is more doughy than bubbly! But I'm glad that it worked out fine in the end. Just like yours, I've wished that my crust was more brown and golden, but yours definitely looks better than mine! :)

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    1. Joyce, I think that is mainly because of the egg wash I brushed along the sides.

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  2. These look soooo good Karin. Giant cheese buns!

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    1. Thanks, Karen. The crisp cheese bits were the best!

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  3. Great loaves, Karin. I love your cheese volcanoes. Yes, I was thinking of making them smaller next time, even cutting them into 10-12 pieces, like mini cheese-filled cinnamon rolls. I figured you too would sub some of the white flour with WW flour. I subbed 25% and that worked out really well.

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    1. Thanks, Hanaâ. Next time I will substitute more of the white flour with WW, too. I exchanged only 10%.

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  4. This looks nothing short of epic, I wish i were you today!

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    1. A praise from the Last American Baker - very flattering!

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  5. Looks amazing! I didn't get them as dark as I should have. Thanks for sharing.

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  6. It is difficult without burning the cheese, but the egg wash helped. Thanks, Virginia.

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  7. these look beautiful. Soo curious about that smoked Gruyere cheese, sounds lovely.

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    1. Thaks, Lien. Here in the US they offer all kinds of smoked cheeses - I never saw any in Germany. They have also smoked Gouda, for example. I like the smoked taste, and it worked well in the bread.

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  8. Thanks for visiting, Sandra - I wish we could be in Tuscany right now, cold and rainy as it is here.
    Karin

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  9. hi there Karin, thank you so much for your contribution. we look forward to more amazing breads from your skilled hands. these filled rolls look just like the Scandinavian savory ones! so pretty and the possibility with the filling are infinite... ps: we corrected your name, even I mispelled "brot" as "bröt", too much Swedish influence on me :) ciao!!! Barbara

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  10. Thanks, Barbara, isn't that nice how we bakers share our passion around the world?

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