This is a BREAD & CHEESE BOMB so BOOOOM !!! What could be better than a "reinterpretation" of a CHEESE FONDUE (hot and melty) with some great BREAD (warm too), during this super-cold weather and icy winds we’re having and when you’ve chosen to experiment with not eating any meat in the past 3 weeks, which I miss, but that’s okay because the holidays were very carnivorous and I’ll start up again soon enough, but with moderation.
Normally, for this type of preparation, people just heat up a CHEESE WHEEL that’s wrapped up in baking paper and then aluminum foil and place it right back inside its wooden box (that was pre-soaked in water, to avoid starting a fire in the oven), and then you serve it up with lots of bread and a salad. Another less easy option is to just wrap it all up in puff-pastry or shortcrust pastry (like a shell) and bake it, like an ALL-CHEESE PIE.
This method goes 1 step further, because the way I see it, if you’re going to serve it up with bread anyways, you might as well just bake the whole thing inside its own customized BREAD-SHELL, plop it onto a plate with some salad and slice through your cheese, with a fork & knife like an aristocrat !
Here are the INGREDIENTSes (as I like to say mockingly):
The dough I’ve made is a cross between regular bread and a pizza dough, hydrated at about 75% with light beer & buttermilk/kefir but with the additional flavors of the rye, whole-wheat and buckwheat flours. CAMEMBERT IS A STRONG CHEESE SO IT NEEDS A STRONG BREAD.
And the stuffing ? Well, it’s MUSHROOM season now (or at least it isn’t vegetable season apart from root vegetables) so I’m using my own semi-oven-dried, marinated and the spreads I made with them (see my recipes here) but instead, you can choose any other cooked or oil-packed vegetables too like sun-dried tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, artichokes, etc. and some pesto or tapenade (red, green, brown, black, whatever) or what we call here, “caviar spreads” because sun-dried & oil-marinated vegetables are often reduced to a grainy texture that resembles tapenade or a very thick pesto and used as spreads and/or dips.
I tried it and tested it several times and using a HOT CAST-IRON DUTCH OVEN WITH A LID (or any other oven-safe baking dish with a lid) to bake it in, which provides the best results because it protects this assembly from over-drying or cooking too quickly on the outside (into a rock-hard mass) and allows the bread to slowly expand as it bakes while the cheese slowly melts inside. Trust me, it’s worth the extra trouble of pre-heating and baking in a dutch-oven or casserole.
Anyways, use whatever you have or like as an accompaniment to cheese and subsequent stuffing (it could also be something sweet too, like jam, honey; preserved figs, onion jam, etc.), then make the dough, whether all-white or darker (like mine)and let it rise, then slice the cheese, stuff, assemble, wrap and bake away.
And for all those people that love a simple snacking plate of cheese, salad and bread, this could be the way to go, but it’s a HOT version that could be a full meal for one or two. You could even slice each up in 4 and serve it as an entrée or appetizer or right after the main meal with a salad. I personally think it’s even better to make individualized portions with smaller CAMEMBERT wheels.
It’s so COLD OUTSIDE, so feed yourself with something that will WARM YOU UP ON THE INSIDE and give you the strength & energy to carry on (with a full stomach) . . . :)