Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Super quick cheesy "bread"

Apart from rye bread (which I'm having imported from back home), I try to stay away from bread. Especially white bread, which essentially is just fluff carbs (white flour which has a high glycemic index (GI) meaning that it is essentially metabolized to pure sugar really quickly). However, from time to time, I get an overwhelming craving for fresh bread. And I believe that if you bake it yourself, at least it's a little bit less unhealthy, as you can control what goes in it. Baking bread can be a bit of a hassle. It's well worth it, as home made, hand-baked bread eaten almost straight from the oven with some olive oil or butter is one of the really simple food delights, but I also like to have a quick fix that can be easily whipped up when the craving hits. This recipe takes less than 10 minutes to prepare. 

This recipe is another gem from the Finnish baking blog Kinuskikissa. The cheese used in the original recipe is a creamy type of aged cheese (similar to Danish Havarti). The taste is creamy and buttery, but still has a bit of character. A bit off target, but click here for a summary of some common Finnish cheeses. Especially note the oven cheese, which is hopefully something I get around to doing a blog post about when I go back home for a visit.

I really want to try this using the cheese suggested in the original recipe, but I have to wait until August when I go back home to be able to do that. In the meantime, I have used several different substitutes and they have all turned out excellent. I have used a strong cheddar and a hard goat's cheese. I think pretty much any cheese would work, maybe not the really mild ones like mozzarella or Wensleydale. I feel like the cheese needs to have a bit of a kick for this one. Feta might be interesting to try, or some black pepper flavoured cheddar. Wonder how a blue cheese like stilton would work? Hmmm, now I'm getting carried away with my ideas again.

The original recipe contains a Finnish variety of sour cream. The Finnish variety has less fat than the ones sold in the UK, but I don't think that's a problem for the recipe. If you want, you could maybe leave out the oil. I have substituted with sour cream or full fat, Greek style yoghurt and both have worked very well.

Ok, so finally on to the actual recipe. This makes about 16.

230 g cheese
220 g wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp sea salt
200 ml sour cream or yoghurt
1 tbsp oil

Preheat oven to 200 C. Grate about 2/3 of the cheese. Mix grated cheese, flour, baking powder and salt, add sour cream and oil. Knead the dough quickly and pat or roll to about 1/2 cm thickness. Use a cookie cutter to cut out round (or any other shape) breads. If you don't have a cookie cutter or rolling pin, just divide the dough into 16 pieces, roll to balls and then flatten out with your palm. Cut the remaining 1/3 of your cheese into 16 squares and place on top of the breads (see here). Bake for 8-10 minutes, be sure not to overbake the breads.

One cheesy bread contains 147 calories (total fat 8.6g, total carbs 11.0g, protein 6.2g). The calorie content will vary quite a lot depending on which cheese you use. These calculations are made for a hard goats cheese with 29% fat.

The verdict:
In my kitchen these disappear as soon as they come out of the oven. I make them as a side for soups, salads, mussels, pretty much anything you can think of. Admittedly, the cheese makes these quite rich, but me and a friend had no problem destroying a batch of them in one evening. I think they are at their best straight out of the oven, but they are still very good the next day, especially if you toss them in the oven or microwave to re-heat. 

There are endless variations you could make adding different cheeses, and maybe some herbs or garlic. Actually, garlic would work really well, or maybe just garlic flavoured olive oil... Have to try that next time I make them. For a healthier option, you could reduce the amount of cheese, and substitute some of the white flour with full grain or rye. 

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