The second last bread of the BBA Challenge was an expensive bread. Not only did the recipe call for 4 ounces of sharp cheddar cheese, but also did it call for 1 ounce of chives. I grow chives in my backyard, but with all the snow we’ve been having for 3 months (!) – no, this is not normal for our region – my chives were killed.
I was pretty sure it wouldn’t be a problem to buy chives in the grocery store. On my way back from work I hit a grocery store that is close to the train station and went chives hunting. They did have some, but I always check the label because I try to buy as locally as possible – and I was shocked. Israel. Chives from Israel. Israel is like 1700 miles away from Germany. And it was expensive! 3 dollars for 2/3 ounce. And the recipe calls for 1 ounce. But I really wanted to make this bread that day and didn’t have time to hit some other places for locally grown chives, so I reluctantly bought expensive chives from Israel (but only 1 bundle of 2/3 ounce). *Sigh*.
Back home, I mixed the potatoes (which I had prepared in advance) with some flour, barm, yeast and potato water. I was a bit concerned about the potato water because the potatoes were cooked unpeeled. Germans don’t do that. Germans peel their potatoes and cook them. Or they cook and peel then. But usually, they don’t eat the peel. Also, about 2 years back there were reports in the press that potato skins are dangerous because of high alkaloid content. The advice then was to discard the potato water and to not eat unpeeled potatoes (yes, there are some Germans that do eat unpeeled potatoes sometimes). So, I was concerned. And I pondered. And I was still concerned. In the end, I decided to just ignore those reports and use the potato water and unpeeled potatoes.
This mixture had to rest for 30 minutes, after which the rest of the flour and the salt were added. I let my kitchen machine knead the dough, added the chives and kneaded some more. Then I fermented it – the dough easily doubled within 90 minutes. I then transferred the dough to the counter, divided it into 2 equal pieces and pressed each piece into a rectangle. Then I put 3 slices of cheddar cheese on each rectangle. I rolled up the dough, sealed the ends and the bottom seams, put the loaves on the sheet pan and proofed them for about 1 hour.
I prepared the oven for hearth baking, scored the top of each loaf making sure to cut through the first layer of cheese and baked the bread. The result were heavenly smelling, nice looking loaves. Tastewise, though, it was not cheesy enough for me. Also, I couldn’t detect any chives: neither for my eyes nor for my tastebuds (I KNOW I used only 2/3 of the required amount). So, this wasn’t exactly a bad bread, but if/ when I make it again I’ll definitely use more cheese and more (locally grown) chives.