Can I substitute pecorino for gruyere in this savory ham and gruyere bread recipe from the Times?

I have a lot of pecorino on hand, and it seems similarly hard and salty (albeit harder and saltier) than the gruyere indicated. Normally I'd just experiment, but would hate for all that good ham to go to waste if the cheese doesn't melt properly or comes out too salty.

I could also mix the pecorino with milder fontina or mozzerella...


  • Posted by: curious
  • February 16, 2011


mrslarkin February 17, 2011
I agree, pecorino might be too salty. I would cut back on the salt a teeny bit if you go with the pecorino. Do you have provolone? I've had the Provolone Bread at The Kneaded Bread bakery (just a hop-skip from the Port Chester Metro North station.) The way the little nuggets of provolone get all crispy/crusty on the outside - so so good.
RobertaJ February 17, 2011
It's going to be saltier and more sharp, with a more pronounced flavor for sure. And it will not melt as nice and "stretchy" as the Gruyere would have. After the bread cools, it's more likely to have noticeable pockets of cheese, but that might not be a bad thing. I'd either mix 50/50 with the Fontina, or use alone at a reduced amount, or use the Fontina in the bread, and put the pecorino over the top where the lack of melting might be more desired (I'm thinking that nice, brown crusty cheese crust effect).
latoscana February 17, 2011
I agree with Amanda but I think I'd use even less pecorino since it's so sharp and works best when used more sparingly. Gruyere is a Swiss Alpine cheese, similar to Emmentaler and Comte (French). These cheeses are nutty and buttery - as is fontina. I think fontina would be great with ham along with just a bit of pecorino to punch it up. Can you make a small sample to get your proportions right first?
Queen O. February 17, 2011
It will not melt with the same texture as gruyere, but the flavor would be nice. Gruyere is more like swiss cheese, which could be substituted, perhaps with some of the pecorino for a kick.
Sam1148 February 17, 2011
Unless you're 'on stage' professional. Try it. We learn more from accidents, happy or otherwise than pure textbooks.

Also, by a happy accident, I'm loving mexican "Qusadila melting cheese--Queso Quesadilla '. Available in most supermarkets today. I think the flavor is nice and melting texture is great to sub for mozzarella in pizzas. As most supermarket mozzarella is mostly flavorless.
Amanda H. February 16, 2011
I'd mix pecorino with the mild fontina -- 50/50. I agree that all pecorino could be too salty and not gooey enough. I think mozzarella might get weird, but fontina will melt well and also contribute good barnyard-y flavor.
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