Hands on monkey business

You literally wont be able to keep your hands off this.

Conservative table manners seem to indicate tearing up bread and dipping it ferociously in a bowl of this, that or another is as far as inhibitions will allow for most diners. And from where did this preprandial dipping idea originate? In Italy olive oil is certainly eaten with bread but this dipping malarky goes no further than the top of the grocers counter or gourmet trade fair stand. For some, there is a squeamishness about being intimate with your food. For others, it's all about hygiene.Try and forget early table training, and recapture some of the childhood joy of playing with your food. Breads are baked to be torn, dipped and wrapped around foods .My late mother-in -law just adored it
when the bread and olive oil with balsamic arrived at the table for her to begin dipping.
The recipe i am sharing with you today is basically a moorish savoury version of monkey bread that you won't be able to stop snacking on, and its perfect for when the gang comes round.
All you need is five ingredients and 30 minutes plus proving time to make this melty, cheesy, pull-

apart recipe.

Cheesy garlic dough balls
8 to 10 servings
2 tsp fast action yeast
olive oil
strong white bread flour 500g, plus more for dusting
1tsp fine salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
125g mozzarella, cut into 18 x 1cm cubes
2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs, thyme rosemary parsley and basil
Freshly ground black pepper

Mix the yeast, 2 tbsp olive oil, and a pinch of sugar into 300ml warm water in a jug until the yeast has dissolved.
Tip the flour and salt into a bowl, and pour over the liquid. Knead in the bowl until you form a rough ball, then knead on a floured worksurface until smooth and elastic. 

Put into an oiled bowl and cover with clingfilm. Leave to rise in a warm place for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.

Knock the dough back into the bowl with your hands, and divide into 18 balls (weigh them to make them identical, if you like).
Roll each piece into a smooth ball, pushing a cube of mozzarella into the centre of each. Pinch the dough to seal in the cheese.
Arrange the dough balls in concentric circles in the prepared baking dish. (approx. 25cm diameter) leaving a small gap in between each to allow for proving. Cover with oiled clingfilm and leave again for 30 minutes.
Heat the oven to 220C/fan 200C/gas 7. To make the herb butter, melt the butter then add the crushed garlic and herbs off the heat. Season well.
Uncover the dough and brush the dough balls with 2/3 of the garlic butter. Bake for 20 minutes until golden and puffed.Brush with the remaining butter and leave to cool for a few minutes. Serve with some tomato pizza sauce scattered with a few basil leaves, and a drizzle of olive oil.



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