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    Basil and Cheese Bread from Frog Commissary Cookbook

    I’ve been working with the three or four recipes in the Frog Commissary Cookbook. This is the one on page 216, Basil and Parmesan Cheese Bread. I’ve added metric equivalents. These are EXACT conversions, so they may need a little adjustment to be workable amounts in actual metric measure. If you have any problems, email me at and I’ll help you work things out. (And I”ll post any solutions here, also.)

    It’s pretty straightforward, no tricks, except that the recipe is in cups of flour. The recipe lists 6 – 6 1/2 cups. I tried 5 ounces / 142 grams per cup, got 30-32 1/2 ounces / 850-922 grams and rounded to 33 ounces / 936 grams. I still had to add 2 ounces / 57 grams to get a dough that would handle properly. On the other hand, the breads I’ve made from this book have all called for a lot of yeast — maybe as an offset to the oils, etc.

    But, it was worth it. This is a good bread, although I doubt it would make a good peanut butter and jelly sandwich. It probably works well with stews, pasta dishes and the like.


    Makes two loaves.

    Have two buttered 8 X 4 inch pans / 20 cm X 10 cm.
    Heat the oven to 375F / 190 C

    2 packets of yeast (1 1/2 Tablespoons) / 1/2 ounce / 14 grams
    2 1/2 cups warm water (20 ounces) / 568 grams
    6 – 6 1/2 cups flour (I used 35 ounces / 993 grams (Okay, it’s a kilo), you may need a bit more or less)
    1 Tablespoon salt / 15 ml
    2 Tablespoons sugar / 30 ml
    1 teaspoon Tabasco / 5ml
    1/4 cup Olive Oil (2 ounces) / 60 ml or 57 grams

    Add after fermentation
    2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese / 160 ml
    1 1/2 cups shredded Gruyere or Jarlsberg cheese / 360 ml
    1/4 cup minced fresh basil or 1 Tablespoon dried basil — 60 ml fresh or 15 ml dry

    1 egg, lightly beaten, to brush on the loaves before baking.

    Make the dough.

    I used a one hour sponge, all the yeast and water and 20 ounces of flour. Mix up, cover and let sit in a warm place for an hour. Be sure to give it plenty of room, as this thing goes nuts!

    Add the rest of the flour, the salt, sugar, tabasco and olive oil.

    Knead for 5 to 7 minutes. This dough will almost clear the sides of the bowl of a mixer. It will feel sticky and will stick to the counter a bit.

    Place in a large bowl, cover and let sit in a warm place until doubled. This won’t take long, as there is a lot of yeast and the dough is warm. The book says 1 1/2 hours, but check after an hour.

    Place the dough on the counter, flatten it a bit, and work in the cheeses and the basil. Knead for two or three minutes to get the new things incorporated uniformly.

    Place in a large bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place for 10-15 minutes.

    Place the dough on the counter and cut the dough in half. Flatten each piece and fold or roll up to make a loaf to fit the pan.

    Cover and let rise until the loaves mound above the top of the pans, 45 minutes in a warm place.

    Brush with the egg and bake for 30-40 minutes, to an internal temperature of 190-200F / 88-93C.

    Remove from pans, place on a rack and cool.

    Here are shots of the finished loaves and the crumb.

    The two finished loaves of Basil and Parmesean cheese bread.  The cheese that was exposed to the oven got a little dark, but it still tasted good.

    The two loaves all baked. The cheese that was exposed to the oven heat got a little browner that I would have liked, but it still tasted good.

    This shows the crumb with the flecks of dried basil in the bread.  The cheese doesn't show up very well, but it's in there.

    Here’s the crumb. The flecks are the dried basil, one tablepsoon for the two loaves. The cheese doesn’t show up very well, since it’s about the same color as the bread itself, but it’s in there and tastinig good.

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