Sunday, 21 February 2010

Home-baked Cheese Explosion

In a previous life, I was a member of a national performing group, and remember fondly the memories had and the friends made. Said friends have since moved on to better and greater things, scattered across the globe, but somehow we still manage to stay in touch with one another through social networking and whatnot. One of them has settled down and found time in the kitchen to experiment. Today's blog post is an attempt to recreate one of her creations that she shared with others, and so, credit must be given to her for her contribution.

I have never experimented with bread making before, although I have several colleagues who do this regularly. When one considers that a kilo of flour and a tin of dried yeast costs only £1 and would last you longer than two loaves of white sliced bread, it's easy to see why making bread at home is popular.
The main problem however is that bread making is not a trivial task. A lot of the traditional recipes seem to involve a lot of mixing, kneading, bashing and general heavy arm work. In addition to that, yeast has a tendency to be rather temperamental. However, in recent times, a pair of chefs have managed to actually work out the very basics needed in a bread recipe, and in doing so, have come up with a very simple recipe that is much more convenient than others. Their original site is found here. My friend discovered the recipe here, and has since used it for various other things.

Amongst these, she tried to stuff cheese into the dough before baking, hoping to get buns with melted cheese in them. To her surprise, the cheese exploded, resulting in buns which actually looked very appealing, and pretty soon friends were asking her to either deliver to their place or for the recipe.

So now that you know the background to this, we can proceed with the photos. The recipe itself can be found in the links I have already provided, so I will refrain from reproducing the steps here, and limit myself to a little commentary here and there.

I added some herb mix to liven it up a little.

For the cheese stuffing, I went with something that I used during my first year at university. I have been fond of strong, rich cheese, but when I got here it dawned on me that mature cheddar is pretty expensive. Not wanting to eat mild cheddar I settled for the next best thing. Red Leicester has a distinct reddish orange hue, which is added during the manufacturing process. According to the British Cheese Board, the colouring was added in order to mimic Double Gloucester, a high quality cheese, which was naturally orange owing to the high carotene pastures on which the cows grazed. Most people I know are used to cheese that is yellow, not orange in colour, so Red Leicester would have been good for food, being very versatile and going with a lot of things, if not for its colour.

To those who are thinking that the bread looks like a jacket potato, you are not the only one who is thinking that. I have a feeling the reason why the buns didn't expand as much as I hope them to is probably related to my taking them up 3 minutes into baking so that I can rearrange them to avoid them merging when the expand. The bread otherwise tastes really good; crusty on the outside, and soft and chewy on the inside. The cheese was found to be acceptable as well. There have been some reports that Basics cheese tends to be oilier than their regular counterparts, however this is something which I am unable to verify.

DescriptionPrice per UnitNo. of servingsTrade-up PremiumTrade-up Benefits
Red Leicester Cheese£5.18/kgN/A+£1.49/kgNot known; some reports say less oily cheese

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