Garlic bread and melty baked cheese wreath

Garlic bread and melty baked cheese wreath
  • Serves icon Serves 8
  • Time icon Hands-on time 40 min, oven time 25-30 min, plus rising and proving

Is there a better way to bring a crowd together than with a melty cheese and garlic bread wreath? No, we can’t think of one either…

(And we’ve got a similar baked wreath with hot-smoked salmon, too!)

Nutrition: per serving

Calories
571kcals
Fat
30.2g (13.2g saturated)
Protein
28.7g
Carbohydrates
44.3g (2.1g sugars)
Fibre
2g
Salt
2.4g
Calories
571kcals
Fat
30.2g (13.2g saturated)
Protein
28.7g
Carbohydrates
44.3g (2.1g sugars)
Fibre
2g
Salt
2.4g

Ingredients

  • 500g vacherin (see Know-how), tunworth or camembert cheese, at room temperature
  • Few fresh thyme sprigs
  • 2 tbsp dry white wine

For the dough

  • 7g sachet fast-action dried yeast
  • 2 tsp caster sugar
  • 450g strong white bread flour, plus extra to dust
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves, finely chopped, plus extra to scatter
  • ½ tbsp fine salt
  • 5 tbsp whole milk, warmed
  • 4 medium free-range eggs, beaten, plus 1 extra egg, beaten, to glaze
  • 40g unsalted butter, softened
  • Oil for greasing
  • 50g gruyère cheese, finely grated
  • 2 fresh thyme sprigs, leaves picked
  • Maldon sea salt flakes to scatter

For the garlic-herb pesto

  • 15g shelled walnuts
  • 15g pine nuts
  • 6 fresh sage sprigs, leaves picked
  • 3 fresh thyme sprigs, leaves picked
  • 3 fat garlic cloves, crushed
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 25g gruyere cheese, finely grated

You’ll also need…

  • Stand mixer fitted with a dough hook; paddle attachment
  • Large baking sheet lined with non-stick baking paper

Method

  1. Put the yeast, sugar, flour, 1 tbsp thyme and the salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Make a well in the middle and add the milk and 4 beaten eggs, then mix for 10 minutes until the mixture forms a stretchy dough.
  2. Switch the mixer attachment to the paddle, then add the butter, beating it in a knob at a time, making sure each is incorporated before adding the next. When all the butter has been mixed in, transfer the dough to a large, lightly greased mixing bowl, cover with a clean tea towel and leave to rise in a warm place for about an hour or until doubled in size (see Make Ahead).
  3. Meanwhile make the pesto. Put the nuts, herbs, garlic and oil in a food processor and whizz to a coarse paste. (Or put the nuts, herbs and garlic in a pestle and mortar and bash to a paste, then drizzle in the oil to make a sauce.) Stir in the 25g gruyère and add salt to taste.
  4. Remove any wrapping and the wooden lid from the cheese, then put the cheese (still in its wooden base) in the centre of the baking sheet. Pierce the top of the cheese several times and stud with thyme sprigs, then drizzle with the wine.
  5. Tip out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead once or twice to knock it back (remove large pockets of air), making sure not to overwork it. Divide into 20 equal pieces (roughly 40g each).
  6. Roll each piece of dough into a ball, then flatten with your hand. Put a heaped teaspoon of pesto in the centre, then bring the edges up around the pesto, pinching to enclose. Put the dough ball on the work surface, seam-side down, and gently roll it under a cupped hand to return it to a spherical shape. Put the ball on the baking sheet, about 2cm from the edge of the cheese box (so the dough can expand), then repeat with the rest of the dough, spacing the balls around the cheese, about 2cm apart from each other.
  7. Brush the dough balls with the remaining beaten egg and sprinkle with the 50g cheese, thyme leaves and sea salt. Set aside at room temperature, loosely covered with a clean tea towel, to prove for 30 minutes. Heat the oven to 190°C/ 170°C fan/gas 5. Bake for 25-30 minutes until the buns are golden and the cheese is melted. Serve hot.

delicious. tips

  1. Make the dough up to the end of step 2 – see pecan pie chelsea buns Make Ahead. The pesto will keep, covered and chilled, for up to 2 days.

  2. Vacherin is a soft, washed-rind cow’s milk cheese in a spruce box, which gives a resinous flavour. It’s made in the Jura mountains of France and Switzerland, and only available Sep-Mar. Find it in good cheese shops and some supermarkets.

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