Blue Cheese and Pear Rustic Loaf

I wasn’t going to post this recipe as I was quite embarrassed by how ugly this loaf turned out. I didn’t expect it to be so dark or so gnarled. (That’s why I added in the word “rustic” to the title) BUT, I also didn’t know how soft and light and moist and tasty it would be. Maybe it’s because of the pears, maybe it’s me being a brilliant baker. No, must be the pears. Blue cheese and pears are great together too. Anyway, it’s a super loaf. No – correction – it’s a super rustic loaf.

Ingredients

  • Warm water              300ml/10fl oz (*200ml/7fl oz if using 200g/7oz starter)
  • Yeast                          10g/¼ oz instant yeast (7g sachet probably OK)
  • Caster sugar              10g/¼ oz
  • Butter (melted or very soft)          25g/1oz
  • Strong White bread flour  500g/18oz (*400g/14oz if using 200g/7oz starter)
  • Salt                              10g/¼ oz
  • Pear (peeled, cored and chopped) 1 large
  • Blue cheese**, crumbled     100g/3½oz  – 125g/4½oz

Glaze (This “experiment” made the loaf very dark for no other obvious advantage, so might not have been a good idea. If you really want a glaze, I suggest mixing half an egg with milk or water and using that instead. Here are the ingredients I used, you can decide.)

  • 1 Egg                                     
  • 25g/1oz fine Semolina       

* I usually use my sourdough starter “discard” to make a sourdough loaf each time I “feed” the starter. On this occasion I incorporated it into this recipe instead. Don’t worry if you don’t have any sourdough starter, it’s not essential.)

** I used Dovedale Blue, a lovely Peak District cheese. Other cheeses I’d recommend are Stilton, of course, or St Agur, but there are many other terrific blues out there.)

Lovely soft crumb

Method

1. Put the water in a stand mixer bowl or other bowl. (Add and stir in the sourdough starter, if using)

2. Stir in the yeast, sugar and melted butter. Leave for five minutes then stir again.

3. Add the flour and salt. Mix then knead. (8 – 10 minutes in a stand mixer with dough hook, longer by hand.)

4. Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, cover and leave to rise and double in volume. (1 – 2 hours in a moderately warm room)       

 5. Tip out onto a lightly floured surface and knock back. Roll or stretch out then dot with pear and cheese. Roll and fold together. Shape into a round, cover and leave on a sheet of baking parchment for the second rise. (About 40- 60 minutes.)  

6. Turn the oven on to 230°C / Fan 210°C / 450°F / Gas 8. Put either a Dutch oven or a baking stone/sheet in the oven to heat up.

7. Meanwhile, mix the egg and semolina flour then brush this over the dough. Cut several slashes. (This glaze is optional. See earlier note.)    

Egg and Semolina glaze – dubious value

8. When the oven is up to temperature, lift the dough into the Dutch oven (or onto the baking stone/sheet) using the baking parchment.

9. Bake for 25 minutes with the lid on the Dutch oven. Turn the heat down to 210°C / Fan 190°C / 410°F / Gas 6. Take the lid off the Dutch oven and bake for a further 30 – 35 minutes. Tap the bottom to see if it’s done – there should be a hollow, resonant sound.

10. If necessary, to crisp the bottom of the loaf, place it on a rack in the oven for the final 5 minutes.  Cool on a wire rack.

I wish you every success with your bread making. I hope you have a go at this one and enjoy making and eating a lovely loaf. If you want to see more of my bread recipes click here. If you’d like to make a comment or ask a question please do, via the contact page.