Saturday, April 16, 2011

Garlic Bread by the Bread Baking Babes (and how!)

BBB+logo+April+2011     Disclaimer: this is not 16th of April, it is 17. And if I had realized that yesterday everything would have been fine. It is fine now anyway only a day late.



If there ever was a bread of which I’d like to say: “it’s not my fault, they made me do it”, it is this bread. In your wildest imagination have you ever thought of baking a bread which held 3 whole garlic heads?

If there ever was a bread of which I’d like to bake 6 at a time it is this bread. In your wildest imagination have you ever thought of eating a whole loaf of bread right from the oven?

If there ever was a bread of which you wonder: can I serve this to the unsuspecting dinner guests, it is this bread. In your wildest imagination have you ever thought of cancelling that dinner because you sampled the bread?

Do it! Solitude never tasted this good!

So what on earth am I talking about? I talk about garlic, Natashya as our Kitchen of the Month and Dan Lepard as recipe master.IMG_3484Note: This is a baby bread. Wet, screaming for attention but so easy to please once you get it’s rhythm. Never give it more than it asks for; try to avoid adding too much extra flour. Yes, there are folds and some waiting involved; they’re just business letter folds. It will stick (no not stink, stick!) to the linen while resting. Flour the linen heavily and when you think it’s enough…. do it again. (Or use parchment paper, I haven’t tried that yet).
Really, it’s easier than you think. Don’t get all intimidated, it will take time but it’s not difficult.

Dan's Garlic Bread
reprinted with permission from Dan Lepard
Exceptional Breads, by Dan Lepard
Dan has reworked the recipe to include a longer rise, less yeast, and less sugar.
Step-by-Step photos here
for the pre-ferment
200ml water, at about 35C - 38C (95F - 101F)
1 tsp fast acting yeast
200g strong white bakers flour
for the dough
225ml water at 20C (68F)
325g strong white bakers flour
10g sea salt
75ml extra virgin olive oil
for the garlic filling
3 heads garlic, separated
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
50ml water
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons caster sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 spring fresh rosemary, leaves picked and chopped

IMG_3473 for the pre-ferment
To easily get the temperature of the water roughly correct measure 100ml of boiling water and add 200ml cold water, then measure the amount you need from this. Stir in the yeast then, when dissolved, stir in the flour until evenly combined.
Leave the mixture covered at about 20C - 22C (warmish room temperature) for 2 hours, stirring the ferment once after an hour to bring the yeast in contact with new starch to ferment.

for the garlic filling
Break the heads of garlic into cloves and place in a saucepan, cover with boiling water from the kettle and simmer for 3 - 4 minutes.
Then strain the garlic from the water, cover the cloves with cold water to cool then peel the slivery skin from the garlic. It's surprising how few cloves you get after peeling so don't be alarmed if "3 heads of garlic" sound like way too much.
Heat the olive oil in a frying pan then place the add the cloves to it and cook until they are lightly brown (not burnt) on the outside. If you burn the garlic the flavour is nasty and you will have to start again, or serve it to your friends with a straight face, so watch them carefully.
Measure the balsamic and the water then add this to the pan with the sugar, salt, pepper and rosemary. Simmer for 5 minutes until the liquid has reduced to a thick caramel.
Scrape into a bowl and leave to cool. The garlic cloves should be tender when pierced with a knife.IMG_3467

back to the dough:
After 2 hours the pre-ferment should have doubled and look bubbly on the surface. Measure the water into a bowl and tip the pre-ferment into it. Break it up with your fingers until only small thread-like bits remain (this is the elastic gluten you can feel in your fingers)
Add the flour and salt then stir the mixture together with your hands. It will feel very sticky and elastic. Scrape any remaining dough from your hands, cover the bowl and leave for 10 minutes so that the flour has time to absorb moisture before being kneaded. Be sure to scrape around the bowl to make sure all of the flour is incorporated into the dough.

IMG_3469Pour 2 tbsp olive oil onto the surface of the dough and smooth it over the surface with your hands. Now rub a little oil on your hands and start to tuck your fingers down the side of the dough, then pull the dough upward stretching it out.
Rotate the bowl as you do this, so that all of the dough gets pulled and stretched. You'll find that the dough starts to feel and look smoother. Leave the dough in a ball, cover and leave for 10 minutes.

Repeat the pulling and stretching of the dough, for no more than about 10 - 12 seconds. You may find that an oiling piece of dough breaks through the upper surface. This isn't a bad thing, but it is a sing to stop working the dough. Cover the bowl again and leave for a further 10 minutes.

This time oil a piece of the worksurface about 30 cm in diameter. Oil your hands, pick the dough out of the bowl, place it on the oiled surface and knead it gently for 10 - 15 seconds. Return the dough to the bowl, cover and leave for 30 minutes.
Uncover the dough, oil the worksurface once more and flip the dough out onto it.
Stretch the dough out into a rectangle, then fold the right hand side in by a third.
Then fold the in by thirds again so that your left with a square dough parcel. Place this back in the bowl, cover and leave for 30 minutes.IMG_3470Lightly oil the worksurface again and stretch the dough out to cover an area roughly 30cm x 20cm. Dot the garlic over the 2/3rds of the surface and then fold the bare piece of dough over a third of the garlic-covered dough.
Then roll this fold of dough over so that the remaining garlic-covered piece is covered by dough. Then fold this piece of dough in by a third...then in by a third again. Finally place the folded dough back in the bowl, cover and leave for 30 minutes.IMG_3468

Wipe the oil off the worksurface and lightly dust it with flour. Pin the dough out again as above and fold it in by thirds each way. Replace it in the bowl, cover and leave for a further 30 minutes.
Pin the dough out again fold it in by thirds each way again as shown. Leave the dough for 10 minutes while you prepare the tray the bread will rise on.
Cover a large dinner tray with a tea-towel. Lightly dust it with white flour, then cut the dough into thirds with a serrated knife.
Place the dough cut side upward on the tray then pinch the fabric between each so that they stay separated.

IMG_3471 Cover and leave for 45 minutes while you heat the oven to 200C (same for fan assisted)/390F/gas mark 5-6. I put a large unglazed terracotta tile in the oven and shovel the dough directly onto it with the back of a small cookie tray. It gives a much better finish and perhaps the bread is slightly crisper, but the bread will still be good placed on a tray just before baking. I also put a small tray of water in the bottom of the oven so that the heat is a little moist, which will help the bread to rise and colour.

Lightly dust the back of a cookie tray (if you have a stone in the oven) or the surface of a baking tray with semolina or flour. Carefully pick the dough up off the cloth, scooping it in from end to end with your finger then quickly lift it clear of the cloth and onto the tray.
Either shovel the dough onto the hot stone, or place the baking tray in the oven, shut the door quickly and bake for 20 - 30 minutes until the loaves are a good rich golden brown.


  More notes:
- the first time I baked the bread I only used two –large- garlic heads. Use three. Just do it. 
- Didn’t add any flour to the dough, it was incredibly wet but a good silky wet. In that the dough kept together nicely.
- My garlic cloves were big fat ones and I sliced the bigger ones in half.
- Used a very syrupy pear flavoured balsamico, can’t say I tasted the pear back in the bread but syrupy is good. Very good.
- Really I wasn’t kidding, I baked three loaves and sliced the butt off of one to see if I could safely serve it for our dinner party… before I knew it I ate one of the loaves! Well I grudgingly shared some of it with one of the kids that happened to walk in on me. Darn those kids.
- Although seriously garlic I think the blanching and the further cooking in liquid reduces a lot of the garlic breath afterwards.
- Next time I double everything and just have this for dinner with a nice salad and some nice bold red wine. IMG_3479 
Natashya will be in her kitchen as host kitchen of the month, so if you want to get your garlic on - post and send her a link by April 29th:  livinginthekitchenwithpuppies AT hotmail DOT com and you’ll get that awesome Buddy Badge and will be included in a garlicky round-up.


Breathe in …. Breathe out .…


  1. I second the part about flouring again when you think it's enough. And the part about eating the whole loaf right from the oven!

  2. Ciao Karen ! Love your dark loaves and the step by step photos ! I used parchement and just slid it on the oven stone.

  3. Het recept sprak mij helemaal niet aan en dacht aanvankelijk deze maand het BBB-brood maar eens over te slaan, maar na ook jouw enthousiasme over dit brood moet ik mij misschien toch nog maar eens bedenken.
    Mooie foto's!!

  4. So nice to still be able to see the 'swirl' in your loaves. They look gorgeous. I think I'll use baking parchment next time too.

  5. @Soepkipje: het is echt heerlijk brood! En ook de knoflook zelf is zo lekker om eens ergens anders bij te gebruiken.

    @Lien: yes I thought for a moment it looked like lava LOL

    @Natalia; Thank you! Really nice loaves you made

    @Susan: right from the oven was the best! Yep, parchment for me next time as well I guess

  6. Oh, I need to do this one - love garlic!

  7. Awesome loaves and great photos, too. Wish that my dough had ever looked as firm as yours...must make again because this is seriously delicious bread!

  8. I used parchment paper and it worked very well!
    yours really looks yummy too, I could bake it again and again...

  9. Come to momma! Wow! That bread looks absolutely fantastic!!! I love that it has whole cloves of garlic but the texture of the bread looks amazing too. I mean, look at the holes. Some day (in the future) I will be brave enough to tackle wet dough like that and not totally freak out and add tons of unnecessary flour. Some day... :o)

  10. This is seriously good bread, isn't it.

    I'd go one further than Susan and say to dredge the teatowel with too much flour, rub in some more and then scatter lots more flour. But I've now decided to forget using the teatowel - seems like a waste of flour when I think of just how much flour is required to dredge into the towel to stop the shaped loaves from sticking. I'm going to use floured parchment paper.

    I'm TOO obedient. I just can't eat bread right out of the oven because they told me I wasn't allowed to....

  11. "Cancel the dinner and eat the bread yourself" <- I love it!
    Looks wonderful, so glad you loved it too!

  12. Based on my hubby's reaction on tasting his first bite, he would be perfectly happy having this bread and a salad for dinner every night of the week. It's what my girls call hunky dunky awesome. Your cross sections are gorgeous!

  13. You are too funny Karen! And I'm smiling so big thinking that you "had" to be made to bake this bread. Didn't I ask you to bake this several years ago ;-) (oooh slap my hand for remembering that).
    You were less than 24 hours late, I'm 9 days late. Not an issue.
    Double everything! I second that one.

  14. Your garlic bread is amazing, I to cut this bread immediately, they taste awesome. Love you blog, sure come back.


Thanks for visiting! I really appreciate and enjoy reading all your comments! If you have any questions feel free to email me.