Week 109: Ploughman loaf

I have been wanting to bake this loaf of bread every since Mary-Anne baked it in the Great British Bake Off 4 series ago! Gosh, had it really been that long?? The comments by the judges were just so complementary, but onions and cheddar sounded like a wonderful pairing. Plus, there was beer…

The only problem is, I just couldn’t find flour with malted grains anywhere. I even attempted to look for it when I was in Malta a while ago, seeing they are much closer to Britain the Singapore. Sadly, no luck. I don’t even know how or what to substitute it. But finally, I decided to just give it a go. Also I have invested in a pricy packet of rye flour which has been sitting in my pantry for a while.

Makes one large loaf


70g whole rolled jumbo oats

425g bread flour 

75g wholemeal flour and more for sprinkling 

85g rye flour

1 tsp salt

1 tsp sugar

14g instant yeast

500ml lager

4 tbsp vegetable oil

150g mature Cheddar, cut into ½in cubes

4 medium onions, chopped


1) Place the rolled oats into a dry frying pan over medium heat and toast until lightly browned.

2) Mix the dry ingredients, including the yeast, in the bowl of a stand mixer then add the beer and stir to combine.

3) Using the dough attachment, mix on medium speed until the dough pulls away from the side of the bowl and gathers tightly around the dough hook.

4) Coat a large bowl with some vegetable oil then allow the dough to rise in it, covered, until it has doubled in size.

5) While dough is rising, heat the remaining oil in a frying pan and gently fry the onions until caramelised – this will take about 40 minutes. Drain the oil from the onions and set it aside to cool.

6) When dough has risen, knock it back on a floured work surface and knead in the cooled onions and the cheese. Form the dough into a loaf shape, place it on a greased baking sheet and set aside for one hour to prove again.

7) Preheat the convection oven to 180C. Dust the loaf with a little more wholemeal flour and bake for 40-50 minutes or until the bottom of the loaf sounds hollow when tapped.

Since I had some Red Leicester on hand, I decided to substitute half the cheddar with Red Leicester but found that it was a little bland. The combination of wholemeal flours, rye and oats gave the loaf a rather “grainy” mouthfeel which was rather satisfying. But I think I would prefer it to be a bit more savoury, potentially adding some salt to the onions or increasing the amount of salt in the dough. I was surprised that the taste of the lager actually came through quite strongly. Maybe next time I shall try it with something I prefer, such as Kilkenny or Weissbier.


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