Ultimate tear and share bread
This is the ultimate bread for sharing with friends, it’s incredibly soft and Moorish and perfect eaten straight from the oven while the cheese is still melted and warm. The focaccia style bread is flavoured with cheese and onion, prosciutto and fresh thyme.
Yield (makes): one loaf (12 people)
Prep time: one hour
Cooking time: 15 minutes
3 ¾ cups (360 g) Strong white bread flour
1 cup (240 ml) warm water
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon white sugar
1 tablespoon active yeast
3 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
½ Onion (finely diced)
½ cup (85 g) Sun dried tomatoes (chopped)
2 tablespoons Fresh Thyme (chopped)
½ cup (50 g) Parmesan cheese (grated)
¼ cup (50 g) Cheddar cheese (cubed)
8 slices prosciutto
1 stick (113 g) salted butter
1. Mix the yeast, sugar and a small amount of the warm water together in a bowl to activate the yeast.
2. Mix together the flour, Parmesan cheese, chopped sun dried tomatoes, diced onions and salt.
3. Add the yeast mixture and then the rest of the warm water and olive oil to the flour, Parmesan cheese and salt mixture.
4. Mix all ingredients together until a smooth dough is formed; remove from the mixing bowl onto a floured surface.
5. Knead the dough for approximately 5 minutes until it takes on a more elastic, stretchy character.
6. Place in a floured bowl and cover with cling film, leave to double in size in a warm place, approximately 20 minutes.
7. While the bread is proving, chop the prosciutto into thin strips and fry over a medium heat until they are crispy, drain and set aside.
8. As soon as the dough has doubled in size it is time to "knock it back", this is done by kneading the dough for another 5 minutes to remove all of the large air bubbles and evenly distribute the small air bubbles.
9. Roll out the dough into a large rectangle and then fold in the edges like an envelope to create a rectangle loaf. Then carefully bring in the edges of the dough and pinch together the seam on the bottom of the bread and transfer to a lined baking sheet making sure the seam is on the bottom of the loaf, the loaf should be a flat rectangle shape.
10. Gently press indents into the bread with your fingers creating a rippled effect, then sprinkle on the cubed cheddar cheese, chopped thyme and crispy prosciutto evenly over the dough.
11. Cover the bread with plastic wrap and leave to double in size once more in a warm place.
12. Once the bread has doubled in size, unwrap it and evenly place cubes of the salted butter over the bread
13. Bake at 200°c/400F for 15 minutes turning the bread halfway through. To check if the bread is cooked pick it up and tap the bottom of the loaf, if it makes a hollow sound its done, if the sound is more dense then the chances are its not fully cooked so return it to the oven for a few minutes to finish it off.
14. Once the bread is cooked remove from the oven and sprinkle with sea salt to finish.
For a vegetarian alternative use caramelized onions instead of the prosciutto