Bread and Better

Bread and Better

Sunday, 1 October 2017

Garlic and Cheese Focaccia

Makes 1 medium loaf.
For the focaccia:
450g strong white flour
1 small bulb of garlic
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus a little more for cooking/greasing
7g dried yeast
300ml water
For the topping:
50g cheddar cheese, grated
3 sprigs fresh thyme (you just want the leaves)
2 teaspoons sea salt
2 tablespoons olive oil

Pre-heat the oven to 160C.
Separate the bulb of garlic into cloves and place into a high-sided rectangle baking tin (around 20cm x30cm).
Drizzle the cloves with olive oil and bake in the oven for around 20 minutes, or until they feel very soft and squishy.
Leave the cloves to cool a little before popping the soft garlic out of the skins. Leave to one-side (saving the tray for baking the focaccia in).
Place the flour into a large bowl and rub in the yeast with your fingertips.
Add the salt, oil, garlic and water and combine until the mixture forms a dough (adding more water if it feels a little dry).
Place the dough onto a lightly oiled surface and knead for around 10 minutes, or until it becomes smoother and more elastic.
Place the dough back into the bowl, cover it with a tea towel, and leave to rise for at least an hour, or until it has doubled in size.
When the dough has risen, decant it into the baking tray you used to roast the garlic in, pushing it down with your hands as you go, so that it fills the whole tin.
Cover the dough again with a tea towel, and leave to rise for around 30 minutes, or until it has noticeably puffed up.
Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees c.
When the dough has risen, press down into the surface with your knuckles, to make little indents.
Sprinkle over the cheese, thyme leaves and sea salt.
Drizzle over the olive oil and then bake the focaccia for about 20 minutes, or until it's crust has turned a deep golden brown.
Leave the loaf to cool in the tin slightly, before removing and serving.
This loaf is best eaten on the day that it has been made.

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