This is the recipe for my signature bake in GBBO Episiode 3. To my surprise my idea of a free-form flavoured loaf wasn’t quite what the judges had in mind, the fact that it is made up of 19 balls baked as one loaf. However, once it came out of the oven and the judges tasted it they were highly impressed. I used a traditional flavour combination, as I usually do, as it is a way of ensuring the flavours work well together. Then I add a twist – in this case the cheese and onion being used as a filling rather than kneaded into the dough.
Cheese & Onion Tear & Share Loaf
Makes 1 loaf
for the dough
- 450g white bread flour
- 1½ teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 6g (one sachet) fast-action dried yeast
- 300ml lukewarm water
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
for the filling and topping
- 1 medium onion, sliced
- 120g mature cheddar cheese, grated
Make the dough: if making the dough by hand place the flour in a large bowl and stir in the yeast, salt and sugar. Pour in the oil and most of the water and mix with one hand or a wooden spoon to form a soft dough, adding more water if the dough is too dry or more flour if it is too wet (sticky). Leave to rest for 10 minutes, covered with cling film or a clean tea towel then knead the rested dough for about 5 minutes until it is smooth and elastic. Alternatively make the dough in a free-standing mixer with a dough hook, kneading for 5 minutes without resting. Place the dough into a large oiled bowl and cover with cling film, leave in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size.
Prepare the filling: heat the remaining oil in a pan over a low-medium heat and sweat the onion until soft but not coloured (about 10-15 minutes). Set aside to cool and grease a large baking tray with butter.
Shape the loaf: once doubled in size, knock back the dough and knead until smooth. Divide the dough into 19 even pieces, shape each into a circle with a 3” diameter and divide the onion and 50g cheese between them (about a teaspoon each of onion and cheese in each ball). Wrap the dough around the cheese and onion filling to form balls and arrange on the tray in a honeycomb structure (3, 4, 5, 4, then 3 balls per row), leaving an inch gap between each ball. Cover with a large up-turned roasting tin and leave in a warm place until doubled in size.
Bake the loaf: when the loaf is nearly ready, preheat the oven to 190°C (180°C fan). Once risen, sprinkle the loaf with remaining cheese and bake for about 25 minutes until risen and golden brown. Brush with oil then leave to cool completely on a wire rack.