When my mom was visiting us a couple of months ago, she filled our freezer with her homemade spaghetti sauce. We sadly finished the last freezer bag this week, but we made the meal special with these cheesy garlic fingers.
This recipe started with a deep dig through the freezer in search of a baguette to serve as a vehicle for regular old garlic bread. With nothing but a freezer-burnt hot dog bun to work with, I thought, hey – we can do this from the ground up.
I’m totally into the instant yeast lately – quick rise, rapid rise, bread machine yeast – it’s all (shockingly perhaps) the same thing. The perk of using it over traditional active dry yeast is that you get to skip the first rise altogether. Which make weeknight bread-baking totally do-able!
So that’s what I did. I adapted from the Goat Cheese, Red Grape and Rosemary Focaccia recipe I’d had such great results with, which was a perfect starting point.
They took no more effort than stirring flour and water together, with only a 30 minute rise. And the results were unreasonably yummy. Comfort food bliss. Hot, tender, fluffy bread baked under garlic butter and a blanket of stretchy, gooey mozzarella. They reminded me of the cheese fingers I’d get at pizza places when I was a kid – they served them with the donair sauce I described here. Garlic on garlic!
We used ours to scoop up spaghetti and meat sauce, but they’d be perfect as a (game day?) party appetizer served with hot marinara sauce or Lebanese Toum sauce (from same blog post as above).
No-Knead Cheesy Garlic Bread Fingers
- 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 packet instant quick-rise or rapid-rise yeast
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1 tbsp granulated sugar
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 4 tbsp butter melted
- 3 medium cloves garlic minced (yield: 1 tbsp)
- 3 cups grated mozzarella
- Marinara or Toum sauce for serving or serve with spaghetti and meat sauce!
- Whisk together flour, yeast and salt in a large mixing bowl. Combine water, sugar and olive oil in a microwave-safe measuring cup or bowl. Microwave on high for 45 seconds or until it reaches 120° to 130°F (if it gets hotter, leave thermometer in until it cools to within this range). Add to flour mixture and stir with a spoon until combined.
- Spread dough into a greased or parchment-lined 13 x 9-inch pan . (Don’t worry if the dough isn’t even or stretching to the corners.) Cover with towel; let rise in warm place until doubled in size, about 30 minutes .
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees with a baking stone or baking sheet positioned on the lowest rack.
- Using your finger, gently poke holes into the dough about every inch, going nearly to the bottom of the dough. Stir garlic into melted butter and drizzle over bread, using your fingers to spread it evenly over top. Sprinkle evenly with cheese. Let dough rest an additional 15 minutes while the baking stone/sheet continues to preheat (should preheat about 30 minutes total).
- Reduce oven temperature to 375º and bake on top of baking stone/sheet for about 20 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly and golden.