Mm, I’m getting hungry just thinking about this bread! The first time I heard about it, it was described to me as a savory Monkey Bread. So I said, must. try. NOW! Cheese and garlic, with bread? Add marinara dipping sauce? You’ve got to be kidding! I jumped at the chance to make it and it has been in my favorites list ever since. It’s not only delicious, and a perfect dish to bring to parties to share with friends, but it’s fun (and easy in terms of bread!) to make.
Two good friends of ours just moved into their first home and are getting married later this year, so they had a bunch of people over for a BBQ. They’ve got a huge backyard that’s perfect for hosting and bocce ball. Naturally, I jumped at the chance to make sure to contribute (this wasn’t the only dish, just wait until the Lemon Tart post soon to come). This seemed like a good chance to bring this recipe back out, but this time I wanted to make it a little bit different from the recipe I tried before.
In terms of bread recipes, this is pretty fast. You can use commercial yeast (even the rapid rise kind!) or starter – depends on what you have in the kitchen. If you use commercial yeast, the rising times are much faster, but the stater will give you much better flavor. For this one, I used starter, but spiked it with a little bit (1/2 tsp) of active dry yeast because I didn’t have enough time to give it four hours for the first rise.
If you give this recipe a shot, I fully encourage you to play around with the cheeses and herbs. This is just an example of what you can use in this. Also, this recipe is based on using starter. If you want to use it with commercial yeast, sub out the starter, add 1 1/2 cups more flour, one packet of yeast (2 1/4 tsp) and 1 1/3 cup warm water).
Makes one loaf in a bundt pan
- 1 1/2 cup fresh starter
- 2 cups bread flour
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp yeast
*You may need to add a little warm water if the mixture is a bit dry.
Step One, Mix:
Mix all the ingredients together in a stand mixer with a dough hook. Continue mixing about five minutes. Cover and proof for about two hours.
Step Two, Proof:
Once the dough has doubled, punch it down and start assembling the garlic cheese mixture.
The dough, post punching down after the first rise.
- 2 large cloves of garlic, finely minced
- 1/2 c melted butter
- Fresh or dried herbs. I used Oregano and Basil from the garden (about 1/2 tsp each if dried)
- 1/2 tsp red chili flakes
- 1/3 cup parmesan cheese, finely grated
- 1/3 cup mozzarella cheese, grated
- 1/2 tsp salt
Step One, Assemble:
Chop the garlic and grate the cheese. Melt the butter. Add the garlic and herbs to the butter mixture. Have a bundt pan ready to go.
Step Two, Roll:
Cut the dough into small balls, roughly the size of a spoon. Dip each ball of dough in the butter mixture, and put at the bottom of the pan. Once you have the bottom row of the pan lined, at some cheese. Sprinkle liberally – the more cheese, the better! Continue dipping the dough balls in the mixture, making sure to get the garlic pieces. Alternate cheese and dough.
Step Three, Wait:
Wait. Cover the bowl of dough and let proof for a second time for about 45 minutes. The balls should puff up a bit more and fill in the pan. Once you’re about ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375 for 15 minutes.
Step Four, Bake:
Bake for 25 minutes or until the top is just golden brown and bubbly.
If you so please, while the bread is baking, make a marinara dipping sauce to go with it. I did the following:
- One can diced tomatoes
- Splash of balsamic vinegar
- Splash of olive oil
- Garlic, herbs, salt, pepper and red chili flake to taste*
* there is no magic amount of any of these. I had oregano and basil, which I just tore a handful from the plant and tossed in roughly chopping. If you like your sauce spicy, I’d go for a bit more of the red chili flake, about a 1/2 tbls. Watch out! It gets hot fast!
Step One, Combine:
Combine all the ingredients into a sauce pan. Cook until hot on medium heat. Turn down the heat and let gently simmer until the sauce comes together a bit more – generally about 20 minutes, but the longer, the better when it comes to sauces like this.
Step Two, Consume:
Place in a small bowl with the hot bread from the oven. Best served piping hot. Friends will rejoice!
This was the bread, half way gone after about three minutes and pretty cool at this point. I recommend serving it piping hot so the cheese stays nice and melted, especially when using a hard cheese like parmesan.
What is a ‘starter?’
Hey Sunita! Great question. A starter is a way of collecting natural, wild yeasts from the air in your kitchen. You start with a combination of flour and water, and let it grow and collect for several weeks. This requires feeding it frequently and caring for it. You then use it in place of commercial yeast. For more information on starters, check out: http://www.sourdoughhome.com/index.php?content=startingastarter.