Thursday, February 2, 2012

Rye Sourdough with Dill Havarti Cheese

This has to be one of the best breads that I ever baked. The aroma that came off of this loaf during the bake was phenomenal. I can honestly say that my kitchen smelled awesome!!!  Not to be too poetic, but I had visions of mountains of caramelized rye berries and volcanoes of oozing molten Havarti.  I have grown to love cheese! Growing up, I could not stand the smell of melting cheese, especially in an omelet.  I can remember whenever my mom or sister ate an omelet with melted cheese I would cover my nose with my hand, and make gagging sounds and say "ewwww that smells gross!"  Well, look at me know.  I am blogging about making Havarti bread.  I guess that I have come full circle.  Now, during my monthly grocery run I stock up on Sharp cheddar cheese, which is my cheese of choice for the grilled cheese sandwiches that I can't stop talking about in my posts. It seems as thought it is the breakfast that I will never get sick of (I hope)!

There is something about a fresh hand-made loaf that offers a brilliant crunch and a genuine chew that you simply cannot get from store bought bread. Some day, I may conduct a study comparing the metabolism of artisan bread to store bought bread. It would be interesting to look at the nutritional impact of breads made with sourdoughs and preferments when compared to that 'crap' that people are buying in the stores these days. I understand we are all busy. Personally, I am just much happier making my own bread. It's that simple. 

I am here to tell you:  If you are buying bread because you are afraid to make your own,  you are living a lie I understand that it is difficult at first, but you need to realize that you have the power to do anything that you put your mind to. I use baking bread as a scale by which I measure my personal growth.  Give it a try. If you are afraid, take that first step. Feel free to get in touch with me. I am more than happy to offer guidance, tips and encouragement.

I use to hate baking bread. My mother will vouch for that. I use to make challah with her and I hated every moment of it.  Now she is asking me to make it.  My mother helps me scale out the ingredients and I make the bread.  It is great working with my Mother!  I guess what I want you to understand is that people change and as they change, they grow. If you want to learn how to bake bread, Do it! Try it! Change! Grow!  Make an honest effort. If your loaf come out a mess, don't give up. It happens to ALL OF US. Give it another go. I have been working with a few of my readers on working through some new formulas, particularly on bagels, and I do not think I have had more meaningful food moments in my life. 

Now lets get back to the bread at hand!

This formula comes form Bread Alone and it is definitely the best loaf that I have made from this book. That being said, I made a lot of changes to the overall formula. Once again I used a sourdough starter from Jeffrey Hamelman's book.  If you are a regular reader of my blog you know why. This bread called for medium rye flour and whole wheat flour. Since I did not have medium rye flour (and do not have any intention on purchasing any) I replaced the medium rye with whole rye flour. Also, I replaced the whole wheat flour in this bread with bread flour to compensate for the addition of the whole rye flour. This recipe also called for 20% bran flour. I replaced this with the 3 parts bread flour and 1 part whole wheat flour that I have mentioned in previous posts. This bread also called for Havarti Cheese, but I used Havarti Dill cheese. It also asked the baker to grate the Havarti, but I chose to dice it into 1/4" cubes. I chose to do this because it gives small blobs of melted cheese in the final product (See the closeup picture below. It is offered at full size so you can really see the lovely oozing quality that the cubes provide). 

I also had to add quite a bit of bread flour to make this dough less wet. The Havarti also adds a bit of moisture to the dough. I think that if I had grated the cheese that I would probably have needed additional flour (but this is just an assumption).

This bread is another bread that uses no additional yeast, so it has a rather long proof time. It calls for 2.5 hours of bulk fermentation and an additional 2 hours once it has been shaped into a round. I chose to give this bread only one slit. I thought that it would open up better. As you can see, the bread came out wonderfully. The smell was amazing! It smelled like a perfectly cooked grilled cheese. It was hard to resist, but I allowed it to cool fully.  In the end, will power is what defines us, so I mustered up all of my inner strength and simply walked away. My first bite was a moment of inner truth. I have to admit that I can not stand when people moan while they are eating something that is so delicious. It just bothers me. Needless to say, I found my self saying "mmmmmm". Sorry, I guess it happens to the best of us :) 

Here are the pictures. If you are going to try a bread, try this one, you will not be let down.

Finished Loaf

Grilled Cheese with Havarti Sourdough Rye, caramelized onions and pan seared mushrooms and Havarti Dill cheese
Oozing Cheese that I mentioned above


  1. Could your picture with the oozing cheese BE any bigger?

    1. I guess so, but I am trying to keep myself in check! I do not want to get carried away. King arthur flour just informed that I am Yeast Crazed. I informed them that at least I grow my own!