Fun with Wholewheat: Cheesy Tear and Share Bubble Bread

“Without wishing in the slightest degree to disparage the skill and labour of breadmakers by trade, truth compels us to assert our conviction of the superior wholesomeness of bread made in our own homes.” Eliza Acton, ‘Modern Cookery for Private Families’ (1845)

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There are some facts about bread making that have been long established as common knowledge: it is a…
*satisfying and successful
*homely but professional
*healthy and nutritious
*joyous and festive
*visually pleasing and artistic
*simple and learnable
*social and crowd-pleasing
….and endlessly creative activity.

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Well, the good baker, with each day’s creation will tirelessly and effortlessly work on representing all characteristics in one recipe. Creating bread that is elegant still perfect for sharing, one that fits in both as a picnic basket filler or a party centerpiece, one that looks just as good torn as it does when sliced is certainly a form of art. And it is sheer fun. Fun can be approached in many different forms on many different ways, but almost everyone thinks of bubbles as fun.

“Bread is like dressed, hats and shoes — in other words, essential!” Emily Post

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A bubble is a fragile, usually spherical or hemispherical, globular body, a layer of softness filled with air-light formation of liquid. This is the perfect description of my whole-wheat Bubble Bread. The melted, oozing liquid cheese center is coated by feather-soft whole-wheat bread, making it the perfect party comforter for any gathering. The very obvious, simple trick of the recipe to avoid a brick-like brown bread is the modest addition of white all-purpose flour along with the whole wheat flour as even just a little white flour has enough gluten to achieve a better dough structure. To make the possibly softest  whole-wheat loaves, add extra gluten and try letting the dough rest for about 20 minutes before kneading that allows the flour time to absorb the water and softens the grains of whole wheat.

Ingredients
570 g organically produced whole-wheat flour, plus a little extra for the top of the bread
2 level teaspoons salt
1 level teaspoon soft light brown sugar
30 g fresh yeast
400 ml hand-hot water

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Method
Begin by warming the flour slightly in the microwave oven for about 2 minutes. Next, tip the warm flour into a large mixing bowl and  sprinkle on the sugar and yeast, mix these together thoroughly, make a well in the center and pour in the hand-hot water. Then take a wooden spoon and begin to mix the warm liquid into the flour gradually to form a dough: the exact amount of water will depend on the flour. Finish off by mixing with hands until the dough is smooth and leaves the bowl clean.
Transfer the dough to a flat surface and stretch it out into an oblong, then fold one edge into the center and the other over that (kneading). Let it rest for an hour.
When doubled in size, take the dough out and knock all the air, flattening the dough. Divide to small balls. Flatten each piece, place a small block of cheese into the middle and wrap the dough around it. Finally build a round loaf from the small dough balls, cover it with a damp, clean tea cloth and leave to rise in a warm place for 30-40 minutes or at room temperature for about an hour.
Meanwhile, pre-heat the oven to 200°C. When the dough has risen , bake the bread for 40 minutes. When the bread is cooked, it will sound hollow when tapped underneath. Cool the bread on a wire rack. (If eaten lukewarm, the cheese-center will be soft and oozy.)

“After a full belly all is poetry.”  Frank McCourt

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