While out at dinner one night in New Orleans, I was doing my usual routine of taking shots of the beautiful food presented at my trough…I mean, table. One of the women seated at the next table saw what I was doing and laughed. I thought she was laughing at me for doing something as ridiculous as photographing food, but she was laughing because she was doing the exact same thing. Turns out, she writes for the King Arthur Flour’s blog, Baker’s Banter. The three of them were in town for the annual conference for the International Association of Culinary Professionals. I love, love, love King Arthur Flour, but had no clue they had their own blog! We started talking blog shop for a bit and web addresses were exchanged (along with dining experiences thus far in New Orleans). As soon as I got back to my hotel, I checked out their blog and I swear I heard angels sing as I stumbled upon a recipe for (wait for it) Hot Cheese Bread!
I have long since divulged my unholy love for bread and cheese on this blog, so you can only imagine how psyched I was to give this recipe a whirl. Even better, the bread recipe appeared to be very easy to follow. Although it did require making the starter the night before, all the other instructions were straight forward enough for even the Diva to follow. So while the strawberry pistachio ice cream was churning Saturday night, I made the starter for the bread (see the link above for the full recipe, which can be found on the Baker’s Banter blog).
The recipe calls for Gruyere cheese, which I usually love. However, when I went to Eastern Market, I sampled a cheese hybrid of Parmesan and Gouda from Bowers Fancy Dairy Products that, to put it frankly, made Gruyere taste like toe jam. So I decided to try the bread with the Parmesan Gouda instead…and IT…WAS…FABULOUS! The tangy flavors of the Parmesan gave the bread a nice sharpness, while the Gouda balanced out the Parmesan to keep it from overpowering the bread.
As the recipe suggested, I tore into the bread as soon as it came out of the oven. The cheese bubbled out of the round discs and oozed onto the baking stone (I used a stone dusted with cornmeal in lieu of a baking sheet). The outside had a great crisp crust, while the inside was soft and oozing cheese (mmmm….cheese). The recipe makes four boule-shaped loaves, two of which I gave to my in-house tasters upstairs. It received rave reviews and was gone before the night was out! And I can’t really say that I blamed them for eating it so fast…it’s amazing right out of the oven. Even better, it heats up well (I had some with dinner on Monday night)! This is hands down my new favorite bread recipe and I will be mixing it up with various other fillings. Can we say bacon anyone?