I had another recipe assignment due for school this week (remember the first, where I baked these muffins?). This time I decided to bake some yeast bread from scratch.
Since I had already used a recipe from a cookbook for my last assignment, I decide to search out a recipe on a manufacturer’s website (we have approved recipe sources we can use, and we can’t use the same one more than once). I ended up on Bob’s Red Mill, which was where I found a recipe for Cheddar Walnut Spelt Bread.
The title itself was enough to draw me in, but when I saw the recipe called for dried cherries in addition to the cheddar and walnut, I was intrigued.
I must say, my first thought was “really?”. I wasn’t sure how I felt about the flavour combo. In my head, I was expecting a fully savoury bread. So the cherries kinda threw me.
My brain got to thinking – “I bet herbs would be great in there instead of cherries”. So I went with it.
Before I knew it, my assignment had pretty much written itself. I would make one loaf per the original instructions (with cherries), and one loaf as the experimental herbed bread. It was perfect really, because it cut down on the costs (dried cherries are freakin’ expensive), and we have to write a section on what we would or wouldn’t change in the recipe, so I could truly say how my suggested changes would or wouldn’t work.
The recipe is super easy to put together, because you simply throw all the base ingredients in your stand mixer and let it go with the dough hook until the gluten develops and pulls away from the side. Add your mix ins, do the usual proofing and shaping, and soon enough you have yourself some freshly baked, whole grain bread!
I tried the cherry loaf first, since that was the original recipe. I felt it was the proper thing to do, so I could truly compare it to my modifications.
Surprisingly, the bread really wasn’t all that sweet. The cherries went well with the other flavours, but made the loaf harder to cut into nice even slices. It was a bit crumbly, but I would say that was due to the whole grain spelt flour. I also found the cheddar flavour to be very mild, even though I used a 2 year old aged white cheddar.
I think it would be a great bread to toast up for breakfast, spread with a little butter or jam.
Next up was the herbed version of the bread.
I added approximately 1/3 cup chopped fresh chives and dill to the bread. Didn’t make a big impact in the looks department, but did lend a lot of flavour!
What I really liked about this version is that the herbs seemed to enhance the flavour of the cheddar. If I’m going to add good cheese to my baked goods, I want to taste it in there!
It was also much easier to slice, as there was less resistance like in the cherry bread. It would be great served alongside a hearty soup or stew.
All in all, I would say it was a successful baking adventure, and now I have a new bread recipe to draw on the next time I have the urge to bake a loaf of yeast bread.