This bread has been in my “to try” queue for a while now but I finally had a chance to bake it this past weekend. You know how you read some recipes and you know immediately how it will taste? Well, this wasn’t one of those recipes. I wasn’t sure what it was going to taste like. A cheese bread? A nut bread? In the end, it’s a wee bit of both!
It’s definitely not a cheese bread in the way we typically think of cheese bread. There is not a ton of Gruyere in this bread. That said though, you can taste it’s wonderful nutty flavour in a subtle way and it’s great. And when paired with the lightly toasted walnuts … heaven!
Wonderful plain or toasted, this bread is perfect for any time of day and any type of sandwich (like my cheese and veggie sandwich, below). I highly recommend this for anyone looking for a new and different bread to try.
Recipe: Walnut Gruyere Bread
Summary: This bread is perfect for sandwiches and is wonderful toasted. It rises fairly quickly, so it’s a quick bread to make, as well.
- 6 1/2 cups bread flour (spoon into a dry measuring cup and level off)
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 2 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper or crushed red pepper, optional
- 1 1/2 cups milk, scalded
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, cut into 8 pieces, plus optional extra melted butter for brushing on the finished bread
- 1 cup warm water, about 110 degrees
- 2 1/2 teaspoons (1 1/4 -ounce envelope) active dry yeast
- 2 cups loosely packed coarsely grated Swiss Gruyère cheese
- 2 cups chopped walnuts, lightly toasted
- Grease two 9×5-inch loaf pans.
- Scald the milk in a medium saucepan (To scald milk, heat it to 180° F., stirring regularly. If you don’t have a thermometer, heat it until tiny bubble start to form around the edge of the pot and a bit of steam is coming up from the liquid). Remove from heat and stir the butter into the hot milk. Set aside and allow to cool to room temperature.
- In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, salt and pepper. Set aside.
- Once the milk has cooled, pour the water into the bowl of a stand mixer and stir in the yeast. Allow to stand 2-3 minutes. Pour in the cooled milk and butter mixture.
- Stir in about half the flour mixture and mix to combine. Add the rest of the flour in 3 to 4 additions, adding just enough to form a rough dough with no un-moistened flour.
- Knead with a dough hook until the dough is somewhat smoother but not perfectly smooth, about 2 minutes. Stop the mixer and allow the dough to rest for 10 minutes. Add the cheese and nuts to the dough mixture.
- Continue to knead the dough until it is smoother and more elastic, about 2 additional minutes.
- Scrape the dough into a lightly oiled bowl large enough to hold twice the amount of dough, and turn the dough over so that the top is now oiled. Gently press oiled plastic wrap against the surface of the dough. Set the dough aside until it has doubled in bulk, about 1 hour at room temperature.
- Remove the dough to a lightly floured work surface. Press to deflate the dough, cover with a tea towel, then set it aside to rise again.
- After the dough has risen for the second time, divide the dough in half. Without deflating the dough too much, pull and stretch each piece into a rough 8- to 9-inch square. Starting at the far end of the dough, tightly roll it toward you jelly-roll style, pinching the edge in place when you get to the end.
- Place the formed loaves in the pans, seam-side down, evenly pressing it into place so that the top of each loaf is level. Cover with oiled plastic wrap and set aside to rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour. When risen, the dough should be at least 1 inch above the rims of the pans.
- When the loaves are almost completely risen, set a rack in the centrel of the oven and heat to 400° F.
- Once the loaves are completely risen, uncover and place them on the rack in the oven. Bake until the bread is well risen, deep golden and firm, with an internal temperature of more than 200° F, about 45 minutes.
- Unmold each loaf to a rack and cool on its side to prevent falling. If you want the crust to be very soft, brush crust with melted butter as soon as bread is removed from pans.
- Wait until the bread cools before slicing. Keep the loaves uncovered at room temperature on the day they are baked. Store leftovers ina plastic bag and keep at room temperature. Freeze for longer storage.
Prep time: 20 min
Cook time: 45 min
Total time: 3 hours
Number of servings (yield): 2 loaves