Bread for Cheese

I’m addicted to cheese. It’s one of the joys in my life, besides the obvious stuff like family and friends. If only I was addicted to celery, I wouldn’t have to bake bread to go with cheese.

Bread is not something I make a lot anymore. I used to make it almost daily, mostly for my husband, who is bread-addicted. These days he’s down on carbs, so that’s why I don’t bake much anymore. But fortunately I don’t have to twist his arm to get him to eat cheese – especially good cheese.

I’ve mentioned before that the holidays make me think of all kinds of festive foods. In my house, from October 1st Thanksgiving through New Year’s it’s a food frenzy.

I not only start planning dishes with figs and cranberries and sweet potatoes, I plan the cheese itinerary. On top of that list is Époisses, which we discovered when in Beaune, which is in the Burgundy region of France, in 2002. To this day, I think it’s still banned on French transportation. And it’s a French cheese!

Although it would be classified as a stinky cheese because of the smell (think standing amongst cows in a cow paddy), it is wonderfully smooth and flavorful.

I always serve Epoisses with sliced of bread made with dried fruits and nuts. They just go together.

The other day I happened upon some dried currants, so I picked those up. And because of my love of hazelnuts this time of year, they’re going into the bread as well. For today I’ll just stick to currants and hazelnuts, but there will be a generous amount of both.

Sometimes I make the bread so dense with fruits and nuts that it’s almost like a yeasted fruitcake, but this one is on the breadier side.

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Époisses comes in a little carton. So you really don’t have to do anything presentation wise if you don’t want to. But do make sure you take it out of the refrigerator about 3-4 hours before you serve it. That’s the only way you will get the lovely runniness that typifies this unique cheese.

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Fruit and Nut Bread for Cheese Pairing

3 ounces currants
Cherry brandy or port
3 ounces toasted hazelnuts
1/4 cup water
2 teaspoons yeast
1/2 teaspoon sugar
8 ounces goat’s milk or evaporated milk
1 egg, whisked
Scant 5 cups of flour in total, 1/2 cup of it whole wheat flour

Place the currants in a small bowl, and cover with a liquid like port. Or, if you prefer, use orange juice. Let them soften for at least 30 minutes before draining them thoroughly right before using. You can always save the liquid for another purpose. Don’t include the liquid or the yeast may not function properly.

Have all your ingredients ready. Chop the hazelnuts and set aside.

Place 1/4 of warm water in a large, warmed bowl. Sprinkle on the yeast and sugar, and let it sit for about 3-4 minutes, or until the yeast softens.

Give the mixture a whisk, then put the bowl in a warm place for about 5 minutes. The mixture will have doubled in volume.

Add warmed milk and the whisked egg to the yeast mixture. I thought I had a can of evaporated milk, but it turned out to be goat’s milk. It still works, which is what I love about brea. It’s not like making pastry!

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Then whisk 1/2 cup of flour into the mixture. Place the bowl in a warm place and let the mixture double in volume, about 45 minutes.

Switching to a spoon or spatula, vigorously stir in 1 cup of flour. Cover the bowl with a damp dishcloth, and return it to the warm place for about 1 hour.

Next, add 1/2 cup of whole wheat flour and the hazelnuts and stir together. The bread dough is ready to be turned out onto a floured surface.

Using about 1/3 more of flour, knead the dough until smooth, then fold the currants into the dough.

Knead a few more minutes until the currants are fully incorporated, then place the dough into a greased loaf pan, or any pan or pans of choice. Place it in the warm place for at least 30 minutes, or until the dough has at least doubled in size.

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Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375 degrees Farenheit.

Place the pan in the oven and bake the bread approximately 40 minutes. If you’re not sure if it’s done, you can use a thermometer to see if it has reached 195 degrees internally. It shouldn’t become hotter than that or it will be overbaked.

Let the bread cool. When you’re ready to serve it slice it with a serrated knife.

I love the pairing of a fruit and nut bread with this particular cheese, or any cheese, actually.

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Look how gooey Époisses is:

The bread is so easy to make, and it’s fun to change up the different fruits and nuts. It could have just been easily figs, cranberries, and walnuts.

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By Published On: December 8th, 201437 Comments

About the Author: Chef Mimi

As a self-taught home cook, with many years in the culinary profession, I am passionate about all things food-related. Especially eating!

37 Comments

  1. thesinglegourmetandtraveller December 8, 2014 at 8:09 AM - Reply

    What a lovely bread for cheese – or on its own with butter! It’s traditional in UK to serve cheese with biscuits but I’m not a fan of this. I always prefer bread or sometimes, as the French often do, just on its own with a knife and fork!

  2. sallybr December 8, 2014 at 9:55 AM - Reply

    Beautiful bread, indeed perfect to pair with great cheeses!

    Haven’t baked bread in ages, I should get back to it…. It’s hard to do it when so many trips were in our menu, but that’s over for now!

    • chef mimi December 8, 2014 at 10:15 AM - Reply

      Traveling is great, but it’s also nice to be back home and have a routine! Merry Christmas!

  3. Julie is HostessAtHeart December 8, 2014 at 10:39 AM - Reply

    I love baking bread, I love eating bread, I love eating bread with cheese on it! Beautiful job.

  4. Tasty Eats Ronit Penso December 8, 2014 at 12:17 PM - Reply

    Mouthwatering! Looks like a perfect combination.

  5. Anna Buckley December 8, 2014 at 2:51 PM - Reply

    Hi Mimi your bread looks delicious, Just curious about your use of tinned milk. Is there a specific reason for this?

    • chef mimi December 8, 2014 at 3:04 PM - Reply

      I prefer the flavor of evaporated milk over whole milk. And I can’t get goat’s milk any other way.

  6. Peri's Spice Ladle December 8, 2014 at 3:12 PM - Reply

    Something about the holidays that brings out the baker in me:) Love this recipe, some of my favorite flavors in there…

  7. DesignsbyJeanneR December 8, 2014 at 7:34 PM - Reply

    Your bread looks heavenly! Don’t you just love the smell of bread while it’s baking…almost as good as eating it!

  8. Michelle December 8, 2014 at 8:25 PM - Reply

    Lovely bread, Mimi. And, oh, Époisses. How I love it.

    • chef mimi December 9, 2014 at 5:25 AM - Reply

      Amazing stuff! Also tried Delice de Chablis that one evening. Very similar.

  9. Cecile December 8, 2014 at 10:27 PM - Reply

    What a wonderful combination – a lovely dense bread with currants and hazelnuts paired with a very strong and delicious cheese. I may skip the strong cheese but I do love the idea of pairing a bread such as this with cheeses and a variety of pates!! Bravo Madame!

    • chef mimi December 9, 2014 at 5:26 AM - Reply

      Merci Beaucoup!!! Stinky cheese isn’t for everyone!!!

      • Cecile December 9, 2014 at 10:25 AM

        I would actually try it but I don’t recall seeing it sold here in the ‘hinterlands’ of Western Massachusetts!! I’ll have to look for it.

      • Cecile December 9, 2014 at 10:31 AM

        I just looked up Époisses, which has a rather fascinating history. It seems it was almost ‘extinct’ following both World Wars but made a triumphant return. I also learned Époisses means “completely worth the effort”. I think I’m going to make the effort and order some! ; o )

      • chef mimi December 10, 2014 at 6:24 AM

        Interesting! I didn’t know that. But beware, it does smell – until you dig into it.

  10. DellaCucinaPovera December 9, 2014 at 2:45 AM - Reply

    Savory breads like this are such a treat for the holidays and with CHEEEESSE! Well done, lady :)

  11. sakinah30 December 9, 2014 at 6:55 AM - Reply

    Reblogged this on Cappuccino.

  12. Sophie33 December 9, 2014 at 3:43 PM - Reply

    What a wonderful bread this surely is! It looks just wonderful & so appetizing too! ,Yummm!

  13. Jody and Ken December 9, 2014 at 8:05 PM - Reply

    Wow! Bread with goat’s milk – that’s great, and probably a great combination with Époisses, one our gooey go-to cheeses as well. I know you get abroad from time to time–should you find yourself in France between October and April it’s worth hunting down a raw-milk Vacherin Mont d’Or, a similarly runny cheese with an amazing great flavor(the French version is artisinal and made with raw milk; the Swiss one is industrialized and made with pasteurized milk). In this country they sell “thermalized” versions of it, but they’re not as good. Ken

    • chef mimi December 10, 2014 at 6:22 AM - Reply

      So many cheeses, so little time… Good to know Ken, thanks!

  14. Amanda December 10, 2014 at 12:41 PM - Reply

    I love bread and cheese both. I like your idea of a quick bread type deal and pairing it. I just made a boule with cranberries and walnuts and i”ve been dropping a loaf on tables everywhere. I need this cheese!

  15. hotlyspiced December 10, 2014 at 11:46 PM - Reply

    I fear I’m also addicted to cheese and that French cheese is one of my favourites. I love the way it’s packaged. The bread you’ve made has some great ingredients for pairing with cheese xx

  16. Choc Chip Uru December 11, 2014 at 12:46 PM - Reply

    Fruit bread is literally my favourite breakfast, I bet it would be super delicious with the cheese! I need it :D

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

    • chef mimi December 11, 2014 at 5:25 PM - Reply

      I bet you like raisin bread! Yes, it would be fabulous with eggs!!!

  17. Butter, Basil and Breadcrumbs December 11, 2014 at 3:12 PM - Reply

    What a lovely post. I know how much you love cheese, Mimi.. and I think I’d love this bread. I was just making a list of cheeses that I need to buy for my Saturday night get together at my house, and I think I might give this bread a try. It is a perfect holiday (or any time of the year) kind of bread, and this will be perfect. Of course, in my mind, I’m already planning on toasting one slice with butter, just for me. <3

    • chef mimi December 11, 2014 at 5:18 PM - Reply

      There nothing much better than warm toasted yummy bread with melting butter, is there…

  18. eliotthecat December 13, 2014 at 8:20 AM - Reply

    Ver versatile recipe. Pinned it. Didn’t you post a great cracker recipe last year???? From TJ’s???? I’m on the search for it now.

    • chef mimi December 13, 2014 at 11:59 AM - Reply

      I posted on a copycat Rainforest cracker last year – one with nuts seeds and dried fruit, if I remember right… Way cheaper than buying them!!!

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