4Cheddar has been produced since at least the 12th century and King Henry II from 1170 records the purchase of 4,640 kilograms at a farthing per pound.
As a result of the Second World War, and for nearly a decade after the war, most milk in Britain was used for the making of one single kind of cheese nicknamed "Government cheddar" as part of war economies and rationing. This nearly resulted in wiping out all other cheese production in the country. Before the First World War there were more than 3,500 cheese producers in Britain, while fewer than 100 remained after the Second World War.
This style of cheese is still accounts for 51 per cent of the cheese sold in the United Kingdom and second only to mozzarella in the United States.
Use cheddar or any other hard cheese to make this light lunch pastry, serve with a salad and a glass of Stella Artois.
Cheese and Tomato Galette
45 ml (3 tbsp) sour cream (or yogurt or buttermilk)
80 ml (1/3 cup) (approximately) ice water
130 g (1 cup) all-purpose flour
32 g (º cup) yellow cornmeal
15 ml (1 tsp) sugar
8 ml (1/2 tsp) salt
115 g (1/2 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into 6-8 pieces
-- Stir the sour cream and 1/3 cup of ice water together in a small bowl; set aside.
-- Put the flour, cornmeal, sugar and salt in the work bowl of a processor fitted with the metal blade.
-- Pulse to combine. Drop the butter pieces into the bowl and pulse 8-10 times, or until the mixture is speckled with pieces of butter that vary in size from bread crumbs to peas.
-- With the machine still running, add the sour cream mixture and process just until the dough forms soft moist curds.
-- Remove the dough from the processor, divide it in half and press each half into a disk. Wrap in plastic and chill for at least 2 hours.
115 g (1/2 cup) aged Cheddar, shredded
115 g (1/2 cup) mozzarella, fresh, shredded
115 g (1/2 cup) fresh basil leaves, cut into chiffonade
5-6 firm but ripe plum tomatoes, cut into º inch-thick slices
-- Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 400 F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
-- Put the dough on a lightly floured work surface and roll it into an 27-centimetre (11-inch) circle that's about 1/8 inch thick. Since the dough is soft, you'll need to lift it now and then and toss some flour under it and over the top. Place on a prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the second disk of dough.
-- Toss the cheeses and basil together in a small bowl, and then scatter the mix over the 2 rolled-out doughs, leaving a 5-7 centimetre (2-3 inch) border. Place the tomatoes in concentric circles, one slice slightly overlapping the last, on top of the cheese. Fold the uncovered border of dough up over the filling, allowing the dough to pleat as you lift it up and work your way around the galette.
-- Bake the galettes for 35-40 minutes, or until the pastry is golden and crisp and the cheese is bubbly. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes.
-- Slip a wide spatula under the galette and slide it onto the cooling rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.