Simple Way to Use Sourdough Starter/Discard: Cheesy Bread
Most sourdough breads are way too complicated for me. I don't want to read through pages and pages of directions, go through multiple stages that take days, buy special equipment, or heat up my oven (and house) to incinerator levels to bake sourdough bread to "artisan" crispness. Moreover, neither my husband, son, or, truth to be told, I, like bread that threatens our teeth and is, well, sort of dry. We like soft, squishy bread that's easy to slice, easy to eat, and easy on our tummies. We also like bread that tastes really, really good. Cheesy Bread fits the bill. It's sourdough bread that's simple to make, simple to bake, and simple to eat. It's moist, full of sourdough tang, and studded with pockets of savory, sharp melted cheese. The bread is good any time of day, but I especially like it for breakfast. The bread contains whole grain white whole-wheat flour as well as protein from the cheese and won't leave you with a carbohydrate crash--unless you decide to eat the whole loaf, which will be tempting. The bread slices well, so pop a piece in the toaster for a wonderful, warm, cheesy treat.
Sourdough Cheesy Bread -- Makes 1 Loaf
1 cup of sourdough starter/discard
1 1/2 cups of white whole-wheat flour
1/2 cup of water
2 tablespoons of canola oil
1 teaspoon of salt
1/4 - 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour (preferably unbleached)
1 - 1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) of sharp cheddar cheese, cut into chunks about 1/2-inches thick
In the morning (or evening, if you want the bread for breakfast), in a large mixing bowl, combine the sourdough starter/discard, the white whole-wheat flour, the water, the oil, and the salt. Stir the mixture well (I use a wooden spoon). It will be thick, so you'll need to use some muscle. Knead in 1/4-1/2 cup of flour gradually until the dough comes together in a soft, slightly tacky mass. It should take about 5 minutes of kneading. Knead in the cheese until it's distributed evenly though the dough. Coat a loaf pan (9 x 5-inches or 8 x 4-inches, if you want more of a "top" to your bread) with non-stick cooking spray. Roll the dough into a log or cylinder and place it in the prepared pan. Spritz the top of the dough with nonstick cooking spray, cover the pan loosely with plastic wrap, and set the dough aside for 8-10 hours to let it rise and not quite double in size. When you're ready to bake the bread, remove the plastic wrap, preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and bake the bread for 30-40 minutes or until it's lightly browned and a food thermometer inserted in the center (watch out for cheesy areas) registers about 190. Let the bread cool for at least 20 minutes if you can before slicing it.