Gruyere and black pepper bread

Photographer: Emma

I started making this bread as “baguette de tradition Français” – although by adapting the recipe I removed some of the details that make a baguette a baguette. I made the bread-making process a little simpler and although I have given specific resting times in the method, you don’t have to follow these exactly – you can always leave it to rest longer if you are busy with something else. You don’t have to baby the dough; it’s a long process but one best carried out casually in the background.
Resting the dough is the key and the short cooking time on high heat will give you an outer crust encompassing a pillowy-soft centre.
You don’t have to add the gruyere and black pepper but it’s the perfect addition with brown onion soup.


The night before
1 ½ c strong flour
¾ c tepid (luke warm) water
¼ tsp instant yeast

The day of
1 ¼ – 1 ½ c strong flour
1/3 c tepid water
½ tsp salt
2 tsp runny honey
¼ tsp instant yeast
1 tbsp olive oil
200g gruyere, grated
2 tbsp black peppercorns, ground/cracked


The night before
1. Mix the flour, water and yeast in a large bowl. Once it comes together in a stiff ball, cover the bowl with cling film.
2. Leave the bowl on the bench to sit overnight.

The day of
3. To the dough made the day before, add the water, honey and yeast and mix with a wooden spoon. The mixture should become a paste.
4. Leave this to rest in the bowl (uncovered) for 10 minutes.
5. Add the salt, ¾ c of the flour and mix well (start with your spoon and then mix with your hands when the dough starts to come together.
6. Transfer the dough onto a flat surface to knead. Incorporate the rest of the flour as needed (½ c – ¾ c). Knead and when your dough is ready it will no longer stick to your hands; it will be smooth and elastic.
7. Grease a clean bowl with approximately 1 tbsp olive oil. Place the dough into the bowl and turn a few times to coat the dough.
8. Cover the bowl with cling film and allow to rest for 1 ½ – 2 hours.
9. Once the dough has doubled in size, punch it to deflate (huge satisfaction).
10. Divide the dough in half, roll out a little and place on a floured baking sheet or tray. Cover with cling film and rest for 1 hour.
11. Preheat your oven to 220ºC.
12. Combine the gruyere and black pepper in a small bowl and then tip it onto a clean flat surface.
13. Roll the dough out more so it is longer and thinner then roll your dough through the cheese and pepper mixture.
14. Twist your rolls and pick up any remaining cheese and press it into the dough.
15. Bake for 10 – 15 minutes or until golden brown. To check if the bread is cooked, tap it and if it sounds hollow, it’s done.