It is downright impossible for me to make the same recipe twice. It just never happens. Even when I start out trying to make a recipe exactly from a book, there’s always an ingredient that I have to make a substitution for, or I have something else that needs used up, or tweaking because I don’t have a stand mixer. Even with my own recipes! I started out making this pumpernickel braid from a couple years ago but of course made some changes. The original recipe turned out great and so did this variation. If you have some dark wildflower honey lurking in the cupboard and you’re struggling to use it up, try it in this bread.
Savory Sage & Cheese Braid
Baking bread is hard for me! This recipe must be foolproof because I’ve had great results three times in a row.
1 1/2 c room temperature unsweetened oolong tea
2 ½ teaspoons dry active yeast (one packet)
¼ cup sunflower oil
1/4 c dark wildflower honey
1 c oat flour
1 c spelt flour
1 cup rye flour
2-3 cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons salt
4 oz Magnolia aged gouda cheese, grated
15 fresh sage leaves, minced
Warm tea to blood temperature. Mix tea, oil, honey 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.