Pumpernickel braid stuffed with sage and smoked cheese

This is a rare post that has almost nothing to do with local food. Well, I grew the sage myself.

I started with this recipe, but made some pretty significant changes, so this is exactly how I made it. This really tuned out amazing.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 c room temperature unsweetened black tea
2 ½ teaspoons dry active yeast (one packet)
¼ cup vegetable oil
¼ cup dark molasses
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup rye flour
2-3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 ½ teaspoons salt
4 oz smoked gouda cheese, sliced
10 fresh sage leaves, minced
Directions:

Warm tea to blood temperature. Mix tea, oil, molasses, sugar and yeast with a sturdy spoon until well mixed. Add whole wheat flour, rye flour, and salt. Ready 2 cups of all-purpose flour in a small bowl. Using the flour out of the bowl heavily flour a kneading board. Scrape the soft dough onto the flour and start kneading in the white flour. Knead in flour, adding up to an additional cup of flour if necessary, until the dough is sticky but dense. Put in a large oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and place in a warm spot to rise. Let rise until fully doubled, at least an hour.

When the dough has fully risen, prep your kneading board or countertop with a little oil and oil your hands. Dump the dough out, punch down, and roll out to a large rectangle, about 10×15. Place the cheese in a rectangle about 4 inches wide on the dough, leaving several inches uncovered at top and bottom. Sprinkle with sage. Then slice the sides up to the cheese in 8 strips on each side.

Fold the top and bottom edges over the cheese, then starting at the top, braid the bread strips back and forth over the filling. Here are better instructions with photos. Carefully slide braided bread onto a cookie sheet sprinkled with cornmeal. Cover with a tea towel and let rise for 30-45 minutes, until it looks well risen but not necessarily doubled. Start heating the oven about halfway through the rise.

When the bread is risen, bake in a 350 oven until well-browned, about 45 minutes. Slide into a cooling rack and let cool for at least a half hour.

This turned out incredibly soft and amazing, almost undercooked. So good!

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