French Bread with Gruyere Cheese and Fresh Basil
This beautiful part-whole-wheat bread has a soft texture, with a subtle flavor hint of cheese, basil, and sesame.
Makes 1 beautiful long loaf
- 1 ¼ cups water
- 1 Tablespoon sugar
- 2 1/4 teaspoons of yeast
- 1 1/4 teaspoons of salt
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 2 cups bread flour
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- About 1/2 cup finely shredded gruyere cheese
- 2 Tablespoons fresh basil leaves, chopped fine
- 1 egg white, beaten
- Sesame seeds and coarse sea salt (for sprinkling on top, optional)
Put all the dough ingredients into a bread machine and set it on the dough setting. Once the dough is ready, roll the dough out on a clean floured surface to a large rectangle roughly about 9 x 13 inches in size. Sprinkle the bread with the cheese and basil. I wanted a very subtle flavor, so I didn’t use much cheese or basil … you could definitely add more cheese and/or herbs if you like.
Roll the loaf lengthwise and tuck under the ends.
Arrange the loaf on a long flat pan with the seam side down, spray with cooking spray, then cover and let rise in a warm place for about 45 minutes or so.
Brush the loaf with egg white and dust with sesame seeds and sea salt (if desired).
Bake at 375 degrees for about 25 – 30 minutes or until the bread is a rich golden brown color. Spray with cooking spray immediately, then let the bread sit for 5 – 10 minutes after baking before cutting.
If you don’t happen to have a bread machine, see Taste and Tell’s blog for traditional instructions. In absence of a mixer, try this:
Use warm water. Dissolve sugar and yeast in the warm (lukewarm, not hot) water. Let this mixture sit for a few minutes until it bubbles. Then add salt, oil and 3 cups of flour and beat well until it is fully mixed. Add in more flour until the dough sticks together well and makes an elastic ball of dough. Turn out on a floured surface and knead the dough by hand for a few minutes.
Cover the dough and leave the dough to rest for 10 minutes, then punch it down by kneading it a couple rounds. Allow to rest another 10-20 minutes. Then turn dough onto a floured surface an with a rolling pin, roll into a 9×13 rectangle. Roll dough up, starting from long edge of loaf to seal. Arrange seam side down on large baking sheet that’s been sprinkled with corn meal or sprayed with cooking spray. Spray the top of the loaf with cooking spray. Cover lightly; allow to rise about 45 minutes. Brush entire surface with egg wash (one egg beaten slightly with 1 Tbsp of water). If desired, sprinkle with sesame seeds and coarse sea salt. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes at 375 degrees.