Cheesy Tomato Bread
When I’m at uni, I’m more or less completely cut off from what’s on television. I occasionally visit iPlayer or 4OD if I’ve got an hour to kill, but I never really keep up to date with anything. It’s because of this that I was totally unaware of Paul Hollywood’s Bread programme. I watched it the other day with my mum and Rachel though, and it just made my mouth water and I instantly wanted to try all the things he’d just made. I satisfied my craving for bread baking the next day and decided that instead of following a strict recipe, I would try and make my own cheese and tomato bread. Kind of like a pizza all in one loaf. I searched through the many, many bread recipe books that my mum owns trying to find a recipe that could be suitably adapted for my loafy needs. I eventually found a cheese and marmite bread recipe by Peter Sidwell and thought that it was close enough. Then I got baking!
I weighed out 500g of strong white bread flour, 1 and a quarter tsp of salt, one 7g sachet of fast-action yeast and 1 and a half tsp of caster sugar (which should actually have been granulated sugar, but oh well) into the KitchenAid mixing bowl.
Next, I measured out about 100g of cheddar cheese and grated about half, then diced the other half and plonked that in the mixing bowl along with about three quarters of a teaspoon of chilli flakes.
After that, I measured out 300ml of water and stirred in a heaped tablespoon of tomato puree. I mixed the dry ingredients with the mixer a bit before adding the very colourful water/tomato puree mix.
Once all the liquid was added and a dough had formed, I bought it all together with my hands just to make sure all the bits at the bottom were combined with the dough.
I put the machine back on and left it to knead the dough for about 5-10 minutes. When I came back, the dough had formed a ball and had turned an amazing pink colour!
I covered the bowl with clingfilm and left it until the dough had doubled in size. This seemed to take an extreeeemely long time, and my hopes of having cheesy tomato bread for lunch plummeted as we reached about 12:30.
EVENtually, after many peeks, the dough had in fact doubled in size
The dough had to be knocked back to take some of the air out of it, and my mum suggested that I use oil instead of flour on the board and on my hands, which was disgusting but I did it. Ew.
I just used my knuckles to press it all down a bit. Weirdly, it felt a lot like nougat but maybe that’s just because it was pink?!
I rolled it all up into a big sausage shape and left it on a lined baking tray to, guess what, double in size. Again, this seemed to take forever and I got a bit overenthusiastic and sprinkled chilli flakes and cheese on top before I remembered that it had to double in size and that I still had to egg wash it. I then spent a good 5 minutes picking all the cheese strands off and putting them in a little pot so I could resprinkle them when the time was right. I decided I’d put a score down the middle, just to make it look a bit more bready and once it had doubled in size, I egg washed it and resprinkled the cheese before popping it in the pre-heated oven (200 degrees C) for about half an hour.
AND THEN IT WAS DONE!!!!!! Of course, to test when bread is done you (carefully) turn it upside down and knock on the underneath of it. When it sounds hollow, it’s ready! This can be a disastrous point in bread baking, as I’ve found it’s very hard to balance extremely hot bread in one oven-gloved hand whilst knocking hard enough with the other hand so you can hear if it sounds hollow, but without knocking it so hard that the bread goes flying across the room. There was a lot of bread juggling when I made this loaf, I tell you!
I set it to rest on a cooling rack for all of about 2 minutes before the smell got to our heads and we just HAD to try it!
It was absolutely delicious! Nice and soft in the middle but with a hard, cheesy crust. The hardest thing was to stop eating it. We went circuit training (lots of running and press ups and sit ups and things) with the canoe club straight after this and I felt so heavy after eating all this yummy bread, but I didn’t regret it one bit. Unsurprisingly, 90% of it was eaten between the five of us that day – we’re all bread fiends! I would definitely recommend this recipe if you’re after a savoury snack – good with butter or cheese or just warm on its own! YUM!