I won’t say this is absolutely the bread of perfection, but it’s pretty close.
One of my favorite blogs is The Pioneer Woman (see the blog stalking section of the side-bar.) This past week, she posted her Rosemary-Onion Bread with Bleu Cheese:
Since it combines multiple Nifty Ingredients, we gave it a whack this weekend. My observations:
1: Do use olive oil. I had to substitute good butter, but the dairy refines the crumb too much, and gives a less-crisp crust than the oil would have. The results were tasty, but the texture would have been even better with olive oil.
2: It is a WET dough. I didn’t actually hand knead at any point, just beat the gluten into it with the dough hook on my Kitchenaid, let it rise in place, and then grabbed globs of it to drop into free-form mini-loaves on my baking sheet. Don’t be afraid of the wet! I used all-purpose flour, so extra moisture and long beating developed the gluten more fully. Using a high-gluten bread flour would have sped it up, but I was letting the Kitchenaid do the work, anyhow.
3: Getting bleu cheese crumbles to stay on top of a risen, rounded bread is really hard. I ended up scraping a lot of melty cheese off the baking sheet, and smearing it on top of the rolls before serving. This would also be nice with chevre or a garlic feta. I did a few rolls without the cheese, and those are extremely good, too. One nice thing: it doesn’t take a lot of cheese, so it’s really quite an economical foodie delight! I used a little more than one ounce, total, to top about 8 nice-sized mini-loaves. (Plus four non-cheesed.)
I don’t know if I’d do this without a mixer (mostly because I don’t like having my hands that mucky), but it’s definitely going into regular rotation around here. My junior foodies were really happy. I think my husband had a roll for breakfast. He’s smiling a lot, which is a good indicator.
Baking may be a slightly-Molly thing to do, but taking it to the next level with REAL baking magic ranks it as a NotMolly activity, for sure!