I like surprises very much. Like, really love them. Once when I had just made the move 100 miles north of London and I was oh so homesick for my adopted capital city hometown, my dear husband arranged for my pals to come for lunch. I walked into a local Leicester pub and promptly burst out crying. At seeing them, at his kindness, at the pregnancy hormones.
Surprises rock. And so does this bread, full of cheese, spring onion and well, don’t let me stop you there. Add what you like, fold it in and watch the joy at a little baked surprise.
Cheese and onion tear and share loaf
Makes 1 loaf
- 500g strong white bread flour, plus a tiny bit extra for shaping later
- 7g easy bake yeast
- 7g salt
- 30g butter, melted
- 330mls warm water (blood temperature, a finger should happily withstand the heat)
- 200g grated strong cheddar
- 100g spring onions, finely chopped
Butter a 2lb loaf tin. Make the bread dough by mixing the flour, yeast and salt in a stand mixer with the dough hook, or mix by hand in a large bowl. Add the melted butter and water slowly as the dough hook is turning at speed 1. Alternatively add by hand and use your hand to mix in then knead for about 10 minutes until the dough feels smooth and elastic. In the mixer this will take 4 minutes.
Cover the bowl of dough with clingfilm and leave to prove until double the size. Knock back by giving the dough a few turns in the stand mixer with the dough hook or use your hands. Then roll out into a long belt of dough, ensuring the width of the belt is the same width as your loaf tin is. Measure the height of your loaf tin and double this number – then cut the belt into pieces this long. Scatter cheese and onion evenly on all the pieces, fold and the place upright in the loaf tin, with the open side upwards. Sprinkle with a little flour and cover loosely in clingfilm then leave to prove until double the size.
Bake in a preheated oven at 220C/gas mark 7 for 30 minutes until well risen and golden looking. Cool on a wire rack and remove from the tin as soon as you can. Tear and share whilst still a little warm!