Gorgonzola Fig Cheesebread (Guest Post by @Scicurious)

Back in December, I shared a guest post by Scicurious, nom de plume of Bethany Brookshire, science writer.  Previously, Bethany shared her recipe for pumpkin pie cupcakes, and this time she’s back with an amazing gorgonzola fig cheesebread.  I’m not a big gorgonzola fan, but you better believe I’m going to give this a try, because I haven’t met a fig I don’t love!  You can find Bethany writing about all sorts of science and science education related topics at ScienceNews and the Society for Science Eurkea! Lab (and of course, tweeting away as @Scicurious).

Gorgonzola Fig Cheesebread: sweet figs and sharp gorgonzola -- a deliciously trendy match made in heaven pair up for this beautiful cheese bread. {Bunsen Burner Bakery}

Gorgonzola and fig is a trendy marriage made in heaven. If you use dried figs, the heavy flavor of the gorgonzola gets a run for its money. If you use fresh, the figs softness has just enough to simmer down the roughness of the cheese.

But in all my hunting around for gorgonzola and fig, I kept noticing it was always on flatbread. Gorgonzola and fig flatbread was on everyone’s menus, often with some arugula and prosciutto for real overwhelming flavor decadence. But always flatbread flatbread flatbread. I found cheese breads from Parmesan to Cheddar and far beyond. Why not gorgonzola?  So I decided to find out what was so darn weird about gorgonzola and fig cheesebread that no one had done it yet.

And it turns out? Nothing! A couple of weeks of testing cheeses and breads and it was all ready to go. The trick is the balance between the hefty gorgonzola and the fig. The first iteration had FAR too much gorgonzola. The second had too much fig. The third was Goldilocks. I found it using a combination of fig jam and dried figs (and, in one iteration, an amazing freezer jam with figs and thyme that I sadly can’t take credit for).

Gorgonzola Fig Cheesebread: sweet figs and sharp gorgonzola -- a deliciously trendy match made in heaven pair up for this beautiful cheese bread. {Bunsen Burner Bakery}

Gorgonzola Fig Cheesebread

Ingredients:

  • 794 grams (28 oz) all purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp. kosher salt
  • 5 Tbsp. white sugar
  • 1 cup lukewarm water
  • 1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. skim milk
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. instant yeast
  • 1/4 cup melted, unsalted butter
  • Cooking spray
  • 2 cups gorgonzola
  • 2/3 cup fig jam + 2/3 dried figs, chopped

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, sift the flour, salt and sugar together.  In a smaller bowl, combine the lukewarm water and milk. Whisk in yeast until dissolved. Add this and the melted butter to the dry ingredients. Mix together until combined, then rest 5 min.
  2. Transfer dough to a floured surface. Knead the dough lightly together until it’s a smooth and slightly tacky loaf. Spray your large bowl with cooking spray. Put the dough ball back in there, and cover with plastic wrap. Let it sit until it doubles in size (about 90 min).
  3. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and knead lightly until smooth.  Divide the dough in half and roll each half into an 10×16-inch rectangle.
  4. Spread a thin layer of the fig jam onto the dough. Sprinkle the dried figs and gorgonzola on evenly. Starting at the short side, roll the dough up jelly-roll style. Pinch the end seam into the dough.
  5. With a sharp knife, slice the jelly-roll on the mid-sagittal plane (as a hot dog bun is sliced). Flip each side so the innards are facing up. These are your two “strings.” Pinch them at the end so they stay together. Make sure they both stay facing up. Place the right side over the left, then straighten, then do it again, “twisting” the two strings together until you get to the end. Finish the end by pinching the dough together. If anything falls out, tuck it back in.
  6. Set in a greased 8×4 inch loaf pan. Cover lightly with plastic wrap and wait until it rising to about an inch from the top (don’t let it go higher than this, or you’ll get fig bits burning up the bottom of your oven).
  7. Bake at 350 degrees F for 45-50 min. If the top browns too quickly, cover the loaf pan with aluminum foil halfway though the cooking time.

Dough makes enough for two loafs of bread — if you do not want to bake both loaves at the same time, stop after kneading the dough, shape into a 1-inch thick rectangle, and freeze in plastic wrap.

Recipe adapted from Seasons and Suppers