Hedgehog Bread with Gouda and Basil

Hedgehog Bread A big family, including all the relatives, could end up meaning 10 to 30 people and is really nice. The problem with really large families is they rarely are able to meet all together for one occasion.  I have...

Hedgehog Bread
Hedgehog Bread

A big family, including all the relatives, could end up meaning 10 to 30 people and is really nice. The problem with really large families is they rarely are able to meet all together for one occasion.  I have a small family so when any of us are celebrating a special event, everybody is invited and settling on a date is not problematic. July is for our family, to say the least, “saturated"with happenings, so one big event does it all.The problem with such an occasion is that all the birthday people feel obliged to bring food, lots of food, and that they really haven’t done enough.  As a result, we always end up with heaps of food on the garden table and a tired grill.  Approximately 3 hours into this fabulous gastronomic event, we end up trying to convince ourselves that sitting around drinking wine, will certainly aid in our digestion.

For “Hedgehog Bread” it’s good to use bread that is about 2 days old as fresh bread is unmanageable and difficult for making a nice straight cut. Having picked your bread, it’s time to think about the filling, choosing the right combination of cheese and herbs.  I have tried different combinations but my favourite is still the simple one "basil and gouda".  The choice of cheese isn’t only about your taste preferences, but its melting characteristics also (read more in “advice” after the recipe).  For herbs the selection is large. Think about the hedgehog bread as a side dish and the dish you would like to pair it with. If it is already composed of complex flavours, vote for a simple filling, mild cheese with herbs that won’t overpower the main dish, like chives (chives are from the onion family, so would work well in combination with dishes that already contain onion or garlic).

If you are looking for an unusual side dish that will decorate your table at a barbeque party or just searching for something new to surprise you family and friends with, this is for sure a great option. I would guess they’ve never seen a bread “hedgehog”!

Hedgehog Bread with Gouda and Basil

Ingredients:

  • 1 loaf of bread, at least 2 days old
  • 4 cloves of garlic, mashed
  • 200g cheese of your choice
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • Handful of basil leaves, or an herb of your choice
  • Salt

Preparation:

  1. With a long bladed bread knife, cut the loaf horizontally all the way through the loaf leaving the bottom intact. Do the same thing with vertical cuts so that you get something like a crossword.

    With a long bladed bread knife, cut the loaf.
    With a long bladed bread knife, cut the loaf.

  2. Melt the butter over low heat, remove from heat and mix in the mashed garlic.
  3. Chop basil leaves or just tear into little pieces and mix in the butter.
  4. Carefully, with a kitchen brush, oil the bottom of the bread, then spread your melted butter garlic and basil mix, inside the cuts of bread.
  5. Depending on the texture the cheese used, grate or slice it and fill the spaces with it. Finally season with salt.

    Cheese
    Cheese

  6. Preheat your oven to 150 °C. (300 F)
  7. Bake for about 15-20 minutes or to the crispness you’d like.
  8. Serve as a side dish to share at a barbecue this summer or with a nice bowl of soup during the winter months.

The Hedgehog Bread

About garlic

  • Garlic is specie from onion genus (Allium). This family includes onion, shallot, leek and chives.
  • It is native to central Asia but has been used by Ancient Egyptians.
  • Thanks to its scent, it’s not attacked by many pests and diseases.
  • Actual production is significantly concentrated in China with its 77% of world output, leaving behind smaller producers like India, South Korea, Egypt, Russia and U.S.A.

Garlic
Garlic

Garlic types

  • Wild garlic
  • Elephant garlic – not an actual garlic, rather a wild leek
  • Solo garlic (single clove, Pearl)
  • Garlic powder vs. Granulated garlic

Difference between these two is just a texture, granulated garlic being coarser. Both are milder in flavour than fresh garlic, they lack the spicy accent. They are not used for roasting as they would burn quickly, however, using the powder for barbecue rub may still be a good choice.

Melting of cheese

When considering the melting ability of cheese there are two factors to take into account, the amount of fat and the level of moisture. Many varieties tend to become stringy or suffer from a separation of their fats. The saying "you can't melt cheese twice" (meaning "some things can only be done once") refers to the fact that oils leach out during the first melting and are gone, leaving the non-meltable solids behind.

  • hard, low-moisture cheeses (Parmesan) - melting point is around 82 °C
  • soft, high-moisture cheeses (Brie) – melting point is around 55 °C

Acids improve the melting ability of cheese.  That´s one of the reasons wine is added to cheese fondue.

Partially burnt cheese is not necessarily bad.   It changes in flavour to a different dimension.  It’s like pine nuts, only the roasting makes their flavour remarkably different.

Cheese