Individual loaves with sharp, clothbound cheddar in every bite! Quick enough for a weeknight dinner, and right for any occasion.
It's Taint season in Vermont. Taint Summer and Taint Winter, as we say. During Taint season, restaurants close down, and people stay inside, except for shopping and stacking wood. The leaves are off the trees, and half the time it's freezing, unless it's raining. The ski slopes are partially open somehow, and long lines of city people materialize in the dark on Friday night, then file home on Sunday. Winter's almost here, but not quite.
At my house, we're provisioned. I'm cracking open clothbound cheddar I made a year ago, and checking a large Gruyere that's now 9 months old. My big crock of sauerkraut is gorgeous, and ready. I have a new, 50-lb sack of Artisan Flour from King Arthur, a smoked turkey, lamb and veal from farms in town, and plenty of dog food.
This evening, I made some very nice Mini Cheddar Loaves, using some of this cheese. The recipe is easy to make, and there is only one rise. The quality of the cheese is apparent in the flavor of these little loaves, which would be wonderful with soup and salad, or dressed up for a dinner party.. Give them a try! --Sue
Mini Cheddar Loaves
Spray six loaf-shaped ramekins with cooking spray
Preheat oven to 375F
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 and 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
2 cups all-purpose flour (I use King Arthur unbleached flour)
2 ounces beer (I used Long Trail Ale)
1/3 cup strong chicken stock, warm
1 and 1/2 teaspoons cooking oil
1/4 cup active, thick sourdough starter, room temperature
2 ounces sharp cheddar, crumbled
- Add dry ingredients to electric mixer bowl, with dough hook attached. Mix briefly.
- Add the wet ingredients except the cheddar, and mix for 1 minute to combine. Turn up the speed to medium, and knead with the dough hook for an additional 5 minutes. Dough will be thick, smooth, and elastic:
- Add crumbled cheese and mix only until cheese is incorporated evenly.
- Turn dough out on counter and cut into 6 pieces. Place the pieces into the prepared ramekins.
- Let rise in a warm place for 35 to 45 minutes, until almost doubled. Then make an egg wash by beating one egg with a teaspoon of water. Brush on the tops (this produces a shiny loaf).
- Bake at 375F for 25 minutes, until brown. Cool on rack and serve!
Here is another shape you can make, using the dough from two ramekins: