These are just two of the reasons why I love baking bread so much. Whenever I do manage to have some time at home, I usually devote it to the process of mixing and kneading dough for the sake of the act’s relaxing properties.
Over the long weekend, I managed to do a bit of baking and did a variation on my favorite foccacia recipe. Marjoram, an herb little used in local cuisine and one that isn’t so familiar with many home cooks, flavored this loaf in the place of my usual basil/oregano blend. Freshly-grated Edam cheese (the ubiquitous queso de bola of the Holiday season) took the place of Parmesan as the topping.
Savory though these elements may be, the resulting loaf was subtly flavored and the salty-herb-y combination went beautifully with some unsalted butter, slathered on whilst the slices were still hot. At least, that’s what the rest of my family opted for. I, however, chose to smother slices with chunky peanut butter for a killer-diller breakfast – made even more perfect, in my personal opinion, with a large mug of milky tea.
Marjoram and Cheese Loaf
- 500 grams all-purpose flour
- 300mL water
- 3 tablespoons cooking oil
- 1 sachet (7 grams) fast-acting yeast
- 1 teaspoon fine [iodized] salt
- 1 teaspoon dried marjoram
- 2 tablespoons grated Edam cheese
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, yeast, salt, and marjoram. Heat the water along with the 3 tablespoons cooking oil in a microwave for about 30 seconds on HIGH. Pour into the dry ingredients and mix until combined. Knead the dough for about twelve minutes. Cover with a clean dishcloth and place in a draft-free area. Allow to rise for an hour.
When the dough has doubled in bulk, uncover and punch it down in the middle. Transfer the dough into a greased loaf tin; cover with the dishcloth and leave to prove for ten minutes. Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees / Gas Mark 7.
Mix together the cheese, olive oil, and pepper. Poke indentations over the proven loaf with your fingertips and evenly spread the cheese mixture over the surface.
Bake the loaf for about ten minutes, then lower the temperature to 375 degrees / Gas Mark 5 and bake an additional 20 minutes. Makes 1 loaf.