It may be ubiquitous in pizza parlors, but this garlic-cheese bread from Alabama's Slice Pizza & Brew trumps most of its counterparts. Made with the same dough the restaurant uses for its pizzas, this garlic-strewn appetizer is the brainchild of executive chef Terrill Brazelton. Brazelton, who spent two years perfecting his final dough recipe, says of his fragrant bread bubbling with cheese, "It slides out the door." We would agree wholeheartedly if our mouths weren't otherwise occupied consuming freshly baked pieces.
Garlic Cheese Bread
Recipe adapted from G. Terrill Brazelton, Slice Pizza & Brew, Birmingham, AL
Yield: Two 10-inch breads
Cook Time: 30 minutes plus 5 hour rest time
2 cups bread flour
½ teaspoon instant yeast
1 teaspoon kosher salt
⅛ teaspoon dried Italian spices
1½ teaspoons honey
1 cup water, room temperature
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 teaspoons finely chopped garlic (about 5 garlic cloves), divided
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme, divided
1½ cups shredded mozzarella, divided
1. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a dough hook, mix together the flour, yeast, salt and Italian spice blend. In a small bowl, whisk the honey into the water and, with the mixer running, pour the water-honey mixture into the dry ingredients. Scrape down the sides and mix on medium speed for 10 minutes until the dough sticks only to the bottom of the bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place for 1 hour.
2. Cut the dough into two balls, wrap each loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4 hours.
3. Preheat the oven to 500°; if you're using a pizza stone, place it in the oven while it is preheating. Remove the dough balls from the refrigerator and stretch them into two 10-inch-long rectangles, about ½-inch thick. Rub each portion of dough with a tablespoon of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Spread 2 teaspoons of garlic evenly over each portion of dough. Top each portion with 1 teaspoon fresh thyme and ¾ cup mozzarella. Place the breads on the preheated stone, if using; otherwise, place on a large sheet pan and bake until the breads are crispy and the cheese browned, about 10 minutes.
4. Remove the garlic bread from the oven, slice down the center lengthwise and cut into 2-inch squares. Serve immediately.
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