Cheesy Garlic Focaccia

Cheesy Garlic Focaccia

I’ve always had this unhealthy obsession with garlic bread. When I was at Primary School, every year they’d have this hot-rods competition where you’d be given a block of wood and four wheels and you’d have to make them into something that could be raced down a ramp. One year I basically baked and varnished a loaf of garlic bread and stuck it on top of the wood. It was very weird, but hey, I did win the originality prize that year!

With my bread racing days behind me, now I just eat my garlic bread, and this is one of the best! Focaccia is a very soft Italian bread which is a perfect base for garlic bread as it’s soft and easy to share. The dough requires a lot of water to get this soft, open structure to it, so it can be petty hard to work with. Rather than kneading the dough on a work top I’ve found that kneading it in a bowl makes everything a lot easier, and also means that you don’t waste as much dough from it being suck on the table!

In most garlic breads the garlic isn’t actually in the bread, but is rather a garlic butter that’s sandwiched in between slices of the bread, or is spread on the top. In this one I’ve put a little garlic into the dough itself, but to give it more of a garlic hit I’ve also spread it with garlic butter when it’s warm out of the oven! You also don’t have to use cheese if you don’t want it, it’s completely personal preference, but I find that it gives the whole thing a delicious tang on the top!

Recipe

Makes 1 loaf

Time: 1 hour, plus proving time

Ingredients

  • 500g Strong white bread flour
  • 10g Salt
  • 14g Yeast
  • 2tbsp Olive oil
  • 1 tbsp Garlic paste
  • 400ml Warm (but not hot!) water
  • 1 Large egg, beaten
  • 50g Strong cheddar cheese, grated
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 50g Unsalted butter

Method

  1. Put the flour into a bowl. Then add the salt and yeast on opposite sides of the bowl, followed by the oil, garlic paste and the water. Mix everything together with your fingers until a dough starts to form. Then knead/stretch the dough in the bowl for 10 minutes until smooth and stretchy.
  2. Tip the dough into another, lightly oiled bowl and cover with cling film. Leave to rise for about an hour until doubled in size.
  3. Line a baking tray with baking paper. Punch the risen dough down in the bowl to knock it back. Then pour/tip the dough onto the lined tin and shape it into a rough rectangle. Oil a piece of cling film and then cover the loaf, oil side down, and leave to rise for another hour.
  4. Pre-heat the oven to 180˚C. Use your fingers to punch holes into the loaf and then brush the bread with the beaten egg. Bake the loaf in the oven for 15-20 minutes, until a soft crust has formed.
  5. Take the bread out of the oven and then sprinkle with the grated cheese. Then pop the loaf back into the oven to bake for 5-10 minutes, until golden brown and baked through.
  6. To make the garlic butter crush or finely chop the garlic. Then add it to the butter and mix until the butter is soft and the garlic is mixed through.
  7. Whilst the bread is still warm, slice the loaf into strips and brush each strip on both sides with the butter. Enjoy!

 

Why not try…

If you love cheese, and really love cheesy garlic bread, you can take this to the next level by adding mozzarella. About 5 minutes before the bread’s done, when you put on the cheddar in step 5, slice the bread into strips almost all the way through, but leave a little space at the end so it’s still all joined together. Then slice the bread the other way so you get criss-cross squares of bread. Take a ball of mozzarella and tear it up, and then push the cheese into the gaps between the bread slices. Top with the cheddar and put back in the oven until melted!

Thanks for reading!

Emma x

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