Mmmm…bread. How I love thee. Unfortunately a bit too much. I never buy white bread but I do love sourdough. I am not going to go into how to make your own sourdough starter. There are a tonne of websites that explain how to do this. I have a pretty old funky starter going on right now and I’ve had it for probably a couple of years now. The best way to get your starter, um, started is by getting a cup or so from a friend and grow your own from there. That’s how I got mine and it’s survived this long. They are very forgiving. When I want my starter amped up and ready for baking, I take it out of the fridge and put it on the counter the night before and “feed” it. When I am not going to use it for a while, I keep it in the fridge and it kind of goes dormant. I kept it like this the whole time I was travelling without feeding it. apparently you can also freeze the starter but I don’t know how this works since I would think it would kill the active bacterial goodness. Anyway, that is my bit on starter. If you want me to mail you some, we can try that too! This recipe is an amalgamation of a few sourdough recipes I’ve used over the years but this time I decided to make it a bit more interesting with the onions and cheese.
- 1c. grated cheese of your choice (I used cheddar)
- 1 small onion (fried and slightly caramelized in butter and set aside to cool)
- 4 1/2-4 3/4 cups of all-purpose flour
- 3 tbsp. white sugar
- 2 tsp. salt
- 1 pkg yeast (use the quick kind or else you have to wait forever for the bread to rise)
- 1 c. warm water
- 2 tbsp. margarine or olive oil
- 1 1/2 c. sourdough starter
- 1 egg white (to brush on the top of the loaves for browning)
In a large bowl combine 1 c. of the flour, the sugar, salt and yeast and add to this the 1c. of water and your oil or margarine. Let stand for 5 minutes. Add starter and and mix. Add flour gradually, a cup at a time until you get a slightly sticky consistency you can work with. This might be a bit tricky for first time bread makers but basically you want to get to the point where it is too hard to mix it with a spoon and you gotta get your hands in there to keep it together. Turn out the dough onto a very well floured surface and begin to knead, adding more flour as necessary to keep the dough from sticking to everything. Knead for about 10 minutes. By this time you should have a pliable, smooth dough that is not sticky.
Put the dough in a bowl and drizzle some oil all over it and turn it to coat. Cover with a tea towel and let rest about one hour.
Uncover the dough which should now be double its original size or more. Punch all the air out and let it rest for about 15 minutes.
Cut the dough into two halves. Stretch out one of the halves into kind of a rectangle shape about a foot long and sprinkle the cheese and onions over it as if it were a really thick pizza. Roll the dough up like a jelly roll and tuck the ends all under so it’s a round ball again. Do not worry about making this look pretty or perfect. As long as you get a ball by the end of it all, it will turn out fine. Just make sure you don’t have cheese poking out or it probably will burn in the oven.
Place the two loaves on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and dusted with cornmeal or flour. Let rest and rise another hour. Preheat your oven when necessary during this “resting” hour to 375F. After the hour, your loaves should have grown again, to about double their size. Don’t worry too much if they are touching on the pan. You can separate them later when they are done.
With a pastry brush, brush the egg white over the surface of both loaves.
Bake in the oven about 40 minutes or until loaves are golden brown and sound hollow when you tap them with a knife or some such thing.
Let cool completely before cutting, no matter how hard it is to wait!