Sunday, August 19, 2012

Stout Bread with Spinach, Onions & Gouda

Time to bake some bread! I realize that I have been posting quite a number of sweet dishes, so I decided to give a go at something more savory.

The two inspirations for this bread are "Spinach Cheese Boule with Whole Wheat" from the blog "The Fresh Loaf" by  Dolf Starreveld. You can find that recipe here: The other inspiration, which I followed enough to say that this recipe is adapted from, is "Dark Sour Bread" from Bernard Clayton's New Complete Book of Breads (1987, Simon and Schuster). Bernard Clayton first published The Complete Book of Breads in 1973, and the recipes in his book really were written before the artisanal bread movement began in the late 1980s. These are standard make-in-one-day loaves with fairly soft crusts which aren't baked on a baking stone or started with a poolish (overnight starter). As such the recipes are tasty, but one should not expect the crust that one gets with artisanal bread or no-knead bread.

Stout Bread with Spinach, Onions & Gouda
5 oz organic baby spinach, roughly chopped
1 small onion, in a small dice
1 T olive oil
4 oz (1/4 lb.) Double Cream Gouda, cut into 1/2" cubes

1 bottle (12 oz) stout
3/4 cup water
2/3 cup stone-ground cornmeal
2 T butter
2 tsp salt
1/2 cup molasses
4 1/2 tsp dry yeast (2 packets)
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups bread flour, up to 1/2 cup more for kneading, depending on wetness of dough.

Sauté the onions in the olive oil until softened and beginning to brown. Add spinach, and cook until the spinach has completely wilted. Set aside to cool.

In a saucepan bring the stout and water to a simmer. Take off heat, then stir in cornmeal, butter, salt and molasses. When cooled to warm but not hot, add the yeast and 2 cups of whole wheat flour. Stir until blended. Add about 1 1/2 cups of the bread flour, and stir until you have a thick, shaggy mass. Turn out  onto countertop and begin to knead, adding in the last 1/2 cup of flour. Sprinkle more flour as you knead for about 10 minutes, The dough will be heavy and fairly wet. After about 10 minutes, gradually knead in the spinach and onion mixture, then the gouda. Kneading this together can be a little tricky, but you can add as much bread flour as needed to make the dough workable--or you can squeeze the spinach mixture after wrapping in a cheesecloth to get rid of as much moisture as possible.

Once the spinach, onions and cheese are thoroughly incorporated, form the dough into a ball. Place into an oiled or buttered large bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until double, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Once dough has risen, punch down and divide in two. Form each half into an elongated loaf and place in oiled bread pans; cover with plastic wrap. Let rise again until double, about 1 hour. About 20 minutes before the bread will go in the oven, preheat the oven to 375. Bake the loaves for 40 minutes, or until done. Turn out of pans immediately and let cool.
The bread has a moist crumb, and some nice flavor. I find the bread to taste slightly sweet, and the onions are a nice complement. If I were to do the recipe again, I would probably try a no-knead method  and a higher temperature (and no loaf pans) for a better crust.

As a point of reference, here's some documentation of the process.
The onions after browning
And in goes the chopped spinach...
Which gets cooked down to this.
Here's the yummy double-cream gouda!
The wet stuff after cooking, but before adding the flour.
The little dots are the stone-ground cornmeal.
Here's the dough all kneaded and ready for the first rise.
After 1 1/2 hours, the dough has doubled in volume.
The dough after being divided and allowed to rise in the loaf pans
ready for the oven!
The finished bread! Allow to cool for at least 30 minutes until you
try to cut into it, otherwise you'll end up with odd bread mush.


  1. Once again, sounds delicious and looks that way, too! How warm does the rising place need to be?

  2. Well, I started with a warmish dough from the heated stout. After that, I just left the risings at room temperature, although the oven was on for part of that time. So, I dunno, 74, 75? I think as long as the room isn't overly air-conditioned, you should be ok.