95% of you probably aren't aware, but Right Now, at This Very Moment (or at least until a very few moments ago, when I started writing this), the Nordic Ski World Championships are underway in Sapporo. What this has to do with a food blog? Well, it serves, at least partway (the other part being "yours truly is INSANE"), to explain how I got to getting a start on today's bread at 2.30 AM. You see, that's when they jumped the ski jumping part of the Nordic Combined. Ahem. (No, really. In some circles, this makes sense.)
I needed to use up a half-empty bag of spelt flour (to make room for more flours), but of course what really caught my eye was the cheese part. Who doesn't love cheese? The recipe called for gruyère, which I didn't have, so I made do with the somewhat milder cheddar.
Like a lot of my creations, this isn't, you know, perfect look-wise. I mean, the cheddar on top kind of looks like some sort of weird fossilized slugs or something, and also the jellyroll-type construction split in the oven, so you can see its cheesy, thyme-studded innards spilling out. But, mmm... cheesy innards! It was meant to go with a soup for lunch, but the first bread kind of disappeared while we were watching the ski jumping small hill competition. In fact, I'm not sure I have any room for lunch. But if I do, there's another bread for us to gobble up with it.
Beer, Thyme & Cheese Bread
from Glorian ruoka & viini
200 ml (6¾ fl oz) beer
100 ml (3.3 fl oz) water
20 g (¾ oz) fresh yeast
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
50 ml (1¾ fl oz, or 3 tbsp + 1 tsp) melted butter or canola oil
400 ml (13½ fl oz) wholemeal spelt flour
200-300 ml (7-10 fl oz) all-purpose flour
~200 ml (scant 1 cup) oat bran
50 g (scant 2 oz) finely grated cheese (I used cheddarn)
3 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
some more beer
30 g (1 oz) finely grated cheese
Dissolve the yeast in the water and beer. Blend in sugar, salt and melted butter. Work in the flours and oat bran a bit at a time and knead until you have a springy dough.
Let rise for about an hour at room temperature or for several hours in the fridge. Tip the dough onto a floured work surface and divide in two. Knead a few times to get rid of air bubbles.
Roll each dough-half to a rectangle of 35*20 cm (14x8 inches). Sprinkle with thyme and grated cheese. Roll up to a tight log and form the log into a pretzel-like knot.
Transfer the breads to a floured baking sheet and let rise, covered, for 30 minutes. Brush the breads with beer and sprinkle on some more cheese.
Heat the oven to 250°C (480°F) and mist with cold water just before putting in the breads. Lower heat to 225°C (440°F). Bake for 25 minutes, misting with more water a few times during baking.