“These are loads of fun to make, look pretty, taste great and normally everyone’s got a Camembert or similar-style cheese hanging around at Christmas, so this is a fantastic way to enjoy it. Gooey, creamy, tempting and packed with flavour. ”
Put the flours, yeast and 1 teaspoon of sea salt into a large bowl. Make a well in the middle and gradually pour in 550ml of tepid water, stirring and bringing in the flour from the outside to form a rough dough.
Knead on a clean flour-dusted surface for 10 minutes, or until smooth and springy. Place in a lightly greased bowl, cover with a clean damp tea towel and prove in a warm place for 2 hours.
Grease a large nice-shaped ovenproof tray with butter, then evenly scatter over the breadcrumbs.
Leaving a 1cm rim around the edge, cut the rind off the top of each Camembert. Pick the tip off each rosemary sprig and poke into the soft cheeses, then peel the garlic, finely slice with the chillies, and poke those in, too.
Sprinkle each cheese with a pinch of sea salt and black pepper, then place one cheese in the centre of the tray.
Divide the dough into three pieces, then each of those into 10, giving you 30 in total. One-by-one, roll each piece into a ball and place on the tray, building out from the Camembert in a circular motion, like in the picture.
Leave to prove for another hour, again covered with a damp tea towel.
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4.
Strip the rest of the rosemary leaves into a little pile, toss with a little oil, and scatter over the dough. Sprinkle with a good pinch of sea salt from a height, then bomb over tiny bits of butter, which will melt into the bread as it cooks.
Bake for 30 minutes, or until the Camembert is gooey and the bread is risen and cooked through. Bang the tray in the middle of the table, and dive in – elbows at the ready, this one’s hard to resist.
And what’s great is that you know you’ve got two cheeses in reserve, ready to bake. As soon as you serve the first Camembert, bake the second one in its box on a tray for about 20 minutes, then decant on to the bread tray, repeating again with the remaining cheese, as and when needed. Guaranteed happy customers, all round.