1 head (large) garlic, unpeeled
6 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 bay leaves
¼ loaf day-old French baguette, cubed
¾ tsp. sea salt, plus more to taste
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 small carrot, chopped
1 ½ pounds red creamer potatoes, peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes
½ tsp. freshly ground white pepper, plus more to taste
3 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
4 ounces Fontina, cut into ¼-inch cubes
Preheat oven to 400ºF. Using a serrated knife, slice off top quarter of garlic head, revealing cloves. Place on a 12-by-8-inch sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil, cut-side up, and drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add 1 bay leaf. Fold foil over garlic and seal edges. Roast in a baking dish until garlic cloves are soft and golden brown, about 45 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool. Meanwhile, on a rimmed baking sheet, toss together bread, 2 tablespoons olive oil, and salt to taste. Bake, stirring once or twice, until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate to drain.
In a medium heavy-duty pot over medium-high heat, heat remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil. Add onion, carrot, and potatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion and carrot have softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Mix in ¾ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon white pepper and add remaining bay leaf. Add broth and 2 cups water to vegetables, increase heat to high, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and allow soup to simmer until potatoes are very tender, 30 minutes. Remove bay leaf. Squeeze garlic head, from bottom up, to push out each clove into soup; stir. Simmer soup for 5 more minutes, then remove from heat. Using a blender, puree soup. Whisk Fontina into soup over low heat until cheese melts and is fully incorporated. Sprinkle soup with croutons and serve hot. Serves: 6.