Last week I struggled to get motivated in the kitchen. I looked at cookbooks, I read blogs, I stood on a chair and peered into the recesses of the pantry and still nothing worked. Then, on Friday morning, while I pushed the Small Girl on a swing in the sunshine and made that weird small talk you make with other parents at playgrounds, I had a flash of inspiration. We raced home – as fast as you can race with a three-year-old who has an elastic concept of ‘this is the last swing, ok?’ – and by afternoon tea time these delicious scrolls were cooling on the windowsill.
Blue cheese, pear and walnut scrolls
Don’t be put off by the instructions here – I’ve specified the ‘fold and leave it’ method of kneading but you can do it whatever what you like. I’ve come to think of this way of kneading as the Pilates of breadmaking. Vigorous kneading is a bit like step aerobics – you get all sweaty and red-faced – where upon this method achieves the same, if not better results by using muscles you didn’t know you had. Or something like that. Perhaps it’s too early in the morning to be mixing bread and exercise metaphors.
400g strong white flour
100g wholemeal flour
1 1/2 tsp dried yeast
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
300ml hot water
For the filling:
2 ripe pears, peeled, cored and diced
150g firm blue cheese, diced
150g walnuts, broken into quarters
1 egg mixed with 1Tbsp water – for egg wash
Put the flours, yeast, salt and sugar in a large bowl and stir well. Grate in the butter and rub through with your fingers. Mix the milk and hot water together – it should be tepid – and pour in to the dry ingredients. Mix well to a soft, sticky dough, then cover and let sit for 10 minutes.
Tip the dough onto a lightly oiled worksurface and fold it in on itself, one corner at a time. Cover with the upturned bowl and let sit for 10 minutes. Repeat this twice more, then wash and dry the bowl before greasing it with a little oil. Return the dough to it, cover with plastic and let rise for about 80 minutes.
Don’t clean the worksurface, you’ll need it later.
Grease a 30cm round cake tin and heat the oven to 200C.
When the dough has risen, tip it out onto the worksurface and press it out to a rectangle about 1.5cm thick. Scatter over the pear, blue cheese and walnuts, then roll up tightly, as if making a Swiss roll or sushi. Slice into rings about 2.5cm thick – you should get about eight or nine – and place them in the tin, allowing about a finger space between each one. Set aside for 30 minutes to rise, then brush gently with the egg wash. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the scrolls are golden and your house smells wonderful.
This is my entry for November’s #TwelveLoaves project, a baking challenge run by Lora at Cake Duchess. This month is all about baking with apples and pears – and I think apples and another cheese would work equally well in this bread. Apples and feta, maybe? Pear and Parmesan?