Cumin and Gruyere Cheese Bread

Artisan breads have a distinct look about them. All those wonderful characteristics of crunchy crust and irregular crumb, we never have enough of, were discussed extensively in an earlier post on whole-wheat multigrain levain bread. I thought I had all the ground covered on what I considered to be desirable qualities in artisan breads, until this cheese bread came out of the oven.

The blisters on the crust of this cheese bread were huge. Almost as huge as the smile they put on my face. They has also brought me new knowledge and awareness about blisters, as pieces of cheese caramelize on the surface of the bread, and how tasty they are. Crusty, cheesy and yummy!

You won’t need to sniff this bread, as you would any other bread. The assertive scent of cumin and Gruyere was unmistakable. The creaminess of the Gruyere moistened the interior of the bread. Gave it an earthy savory note without being overpowering.

If you are after deep flavor in your bread, I can’t imagine a stronger one than a cheese bread. This bread recipe is adapted from Jeffrey Hamelman’s Bread, but my choice of Gruyere and the addition of cumin took on a different tack from the original recipe. Clearly, the nature and quality of the cheese used will have a definitive effect on the bread flavor. Hamelman recommends Parmesan, or a less expensive Asiago or a combination of both. The choice is yours. With this recipe, the bread will come out equally successful, as I’ve tested, irrespective of your choice of cheese, as long as they are hard cheeses with low water content.

The best part of the bread: the blisters on the crust

This cheese bread goes well with soups and salads. It’s lovely to serve it with fresh fruits and nuts. Any leftover is best toasted, which brings back the taste of the cheese. Bon appetit!


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