I love bread. I could go weeks without eating it and then find myself having it with every meal for days. It doesn’t really agree with me, but life without bread doesn’t bear thinking about, so I soldier on. (I know, I’m a saint.)
I’ve found it difficult to muster up the energy to cook since I started working full-time recently. By the time I get home it’s nearly 7 and the last thing I want to do is spend the evening in the kitchen. As soon as the idea of tear and share bread entered my head though, I was dying to get going. Trust bread to give me my cooking mojo back.
I paired cheddar (I used this cheddar from The Little Milk Company) with sweet, mellow roasted garlic, but the world is your oyster when it comes to flavours for this versatile bread. Crumbled up crispy bacon would be delicious with gruyère and caramelised onions, and I’d definitely give pepperoni and mozzarella a go.
After the initial proving, I let the dough rise slowly in the fridge overnight, giving me a light, fluffy texture that was perfect for tearing apart. If you don’t want to do this, just give the dough about an hour in a warm room before baking.
300g strong flour
1 tsp sugar1 sachet fast-action yeast
1 tsp salt
150ml warm water
2 tbsps olive oil
Handful grated or crumbled strong cheddar (or cheese of your choice)
Roasted garlic (see below)
For the roasted garlic
1 large bulb of garlic
Start by roasting the garlic. Preheat the oven to 200°c. Slice the top off the bulb of garlic, exposing the inside of the cloves. Remove the papery skin from the outside of the garlic, without separating the cloves. Place the garlic, cut side up, on a piece of foil. Drizzle it with oil, then cover it with the foil. Roast the garlic for about 40 minutes until the cloves are soft. Allow the garlic to cool before squeezing the it into a bowl. Keep the garlic covered in the fridge until you need it.
To make the bread, put the flour, sugar, salt and yeast into a bowl. Make sure the yeast doesn’t touch the salt. Give it a quick stir, then add the oil, milk and water and mix until you have a dough. Knead for 10 minutes (5 minutes in a food mixer) until the dough is smooth and stretchy. Place in an oiled bowl, cover the bowl with cling film or a damp towel and leave to rise for 1-2 hours until doubled in size. When it has doubled, knock it back and knead for minute or so.
Flatten the dough out with your hands and put the cheese and garlic in the middle of it. Fold it over and gently knead in the cheese and garlic until it is evenly distributed. Divide the dough into 6-8 balls and place each one in a greased 8 inch tin or dish. If you want to let it slowly rise overnight, put it in a large plastic bag and tie it tightly (or cover it with well greased cling film) and put it in the fridge. Otherwise you can let it rise for an hour in a warm room.
When you’re ready to bake it, preheat the oven to 190°c and bake the bread for about 40 minutes, or until it’s golden brown and sounds hollow when you tap it underneath.
Allow the bread to cool a little, and then serve it in the middle of the table, ready to be torn apart.