If you’re a yeast bread baker, you know that different loaves provoke different visceral responses. There are sandwich loaves, golden brown and perfectly domed, that seem almost too beautiful to cut into. And there’s country sourdough bread, whose occasional lack of beauty is made up for by its enticing aroma. Focaccia begs you to cut it into squares and dip it in seasoned olive oil; a baguette makes you bend down and listen to it “singing” as it cools.

But one response all homemade yeast breads invoke in common: they all say RIP INTO ME RIGHT NOW.

Hot-from-the-oven bread envelops your house with a yeasty aura of warmth and comfort. But it’s not enough to simply enjoy the aroma of bread, or to admire it as it cools. Though you’re cautioned not to cut into a hot sandwich loaf, lest your precipitous cut turn it gummy (and yes, if you cut oven-hot bread, that does happen), other breads are fair game for the “grab, rip, and gorge” response we feel.

Gruyère Cheese Bread falls smack in the middle of that category.

Chewy, oven-hot bread with a crown of crusty melted cheese… does it get any better? This recipe comes from the French Pastry School in Chicago, which uses King Arthur Flour exclusively for breads, cakes, cookies, pastries–every recipe that calls for flour. We’ve adapted their recipe for home bakers, but we didn’t have to do much beyond tweak it to work in home ovens, which differ vastly from the steam-injected brick ovens professional bakers use.

French Pastry School head baker/chefs Jacquy Pfeiffer and Sebastien Canonne say this is one of their truly beloved breads, one that never fails to attract customers when it’s pulled from the oven and immediately fills the bakeshop with its steamy aroma of melted cheese and hot bread.

OK, by now you're chomping at the bit, ready to bake, right? Let's go for it. Without further ado, here's how to make the French Pastry School's Gruyère Cheese Bread.

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Mix flour, water, salt, and yeast, and set aside to rest at room temperature overnight.

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Just about 14 hours later, look how that simple starter has grown!

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Mix the starter with the remainder of the dough ingredients. The dough will be rough at first...

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...but becomes smooth and satiny as you knead.

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Next, let the dough rise till it's grown to just about twice its size.

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WOW! Unlike more sluggish doughs, this one rises fairly quickly, doubling in size in 2 hours or less.

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And the gluten, as you can see, is nicely developed.

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Pat the dough into a rough 9” x 12” rectangle.

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Next, pick your cheese. While the French Pastry School uses Gruyère, we like to experiment with different cheeses. We find sharp cheddar is an especially good choice.

We use a lot of Cabot cheese here in the test kitchen. It comes from a Vermont dairy cooperative; and not only do we like to support our local farmers, they make GOOD cheese. Their Seriously Sharp Cheddar is a great choice for those of you who love cheddar.

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Spritz with water, and layer on the shredded cheese...

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...and roll it up, starting with a longer edge.

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Here it is, a lovely cheese-filled log.

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Once it's risen again, divide the dough into four pieces; or two pieces, for larger loaves.

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Place the pieces, cut-side up, on a parchment-lined baking sheet. You don't HAVE to use parchment, but it helps with cleanup; these loaves will oooooze cheese as they bake.

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See what I mean? Melted cheese bubbles out the top and down the sides of the loaves like lava from a volcano.

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See that crater of melted cheese? Go for it!

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And here's a cross section of the “volcano.” You can slice this bread if you like, but really: just rip into it with both hands while it's hot. Enjoy!

Find the recipe online by clicking here: Gruyère Cheese Bread.



Filed Under: Recipes
PJ Hamel
The Author

About PJ Hamel

PJ Hamel grew up in New England, graduated from Brown University, and was a Maine journalist before joining King Arthur Flour in 1990. PJ bakes and writes from her home on Cape Cod, where she enjoys beach-walking, her husband, two dogs, and really good food!