Tuesday, February 16, 2010

roasted garlic bread

there's this bakery i stop by every now and then. it's nothing special, but they have a good cherry turnover and an amazing roasted garlic bread. i love this bread, it has a good crust and the inside is nice and chewy and dotted with whole, sweet roasted garlic cloves. only trouble is they make those loaves so damn small, i always feel like such a pig. and i can't buy more than one cause then it's like admitting up-front that one loaf is not enough bread for me. so yesterday, as i was pondering all this waiting for the cashier (though of a certain age, seemed to care very little about the little time she has left: took her foooorever to ring up my two items) and as the price came up on the screen, i felt the weightlessness of it. it, the paper my first crush stuck to my back in 5th grade, that said 'stoopid'. seriously, his name is romeo, and we did that whole thing where i shared my lunch and he pulled my pig tails but then he stuck this paper on my back and i was over him like that. [snaps fingers loudly] only this time, perhaps it was plastered to my forehead. that tiny loaf, have i mentioned the ridiculous price?! geez, i have all the ingredients in my cupboard. i really don't know what i was waiting for.

high on a chery turnover sugar rush i come home to research recipes. all the results were for garlic bread, meaning slices smeared with various garlicky spreads and baked. garlic sticks. i had no time to riffle through cook books. so i threw caution to the wind and tinkered with an existing cheese bread recipe i have. there's a certain texture i was looking for, this bread  is not spongy at all. i don't even like those breads you could compact into a tennis ball if you squeezed a little. i like hearty, crusty, consistent and this is all those things.

you can proceed with or without the cheese, but if you want it in be sure to get extra sharp aged cheddar. this time i used a mix of parmesan and this australian cheese i found at whole foods called fleur du nord which to me tastes a great deal like gruyere. does not work as good as sharp cheddar. and, for the love of good bread everywhere: if you don't have fresh rosemary just leave it out. i figured, eh, so what, i'll just use dry -despite my very bad track record of 'figuring' things on an empty stomach. i'll also try it with some whole wheat next time if i'm feeling extra adventurous.

so, preheat the oven to 400F. cut the tops of two whole heads of garlic, douse it with olive oil, wrap it in foil and roast for about 25 minutes. you want it good and tender, but still firm enough to gently squeeze out the entire clove. let cool.

for the dough:
4 1/3 cups bread flour
1 1/2 ts sea salt
1/2 cup warm water
1 ts caster sugar
1 cup to 1 1/2 cups warm milk (fat free works)
1/2 pack fresh yeast or 1 pack dry
4 oz extra sharp cheddar, about 1 cup, lightly packed
3 tb unsalted butter
1 tb chopped rosemary, optional

in a 2 cup liquid measure dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water. let it sit until foamy, about 5 minutes.
shred the cheese in your processor. attach dough blade, add flour, salt and the butter cut in small pieces and pulse to combine. pour 1 cup milk over the yeast. with the thing running slowly stream in the yeast mixture as the flour absorbs it. use the additional quantity as needed, until the dough cleans the sides of the bowl. process another 45 seconds to knead. you'll have a smooth, firm dough that doesn't stick. put it in an oiled bowl, cover with oiled plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm spot for about 1 hour, 1 1/2, until double in size. (it may be triple. it's all good.)

when it's ready flaten it with your hands into a rectangle. take the first garlic head and squeeze violently. seriously. you want a paste to spread evenly all over the dough. if you manage to get intact cloves out, smush them. yeah, that's a culinary term. be very gentle with the second. these you want whole. dot the surface with cloves and then sprinkle rosemary. fresh rosemary. fresh. roll up the dough like a jelly roll and pinch the ends and the seam to seal. place in greased loaf pan, cover with oiled wrap and let rise another 45 minutes.
preheat oven to 375F at least 15 minutes prior. bake about 35 to 40 minutes, until loaf sonds hollow when tapped. cool on wire rack.

i made two smaller loaves. because i love bread fresh from the oven. i intended to freeze one, already baked and then you warm it up, from frozen. not a bad deal at all. but the first one was devoured so quickly, there was no point to it anymore. zhara loved it. mostly because she kept poking the garlic pocket in her slice and squealing, squishy! squishy! which is a favourite texture and word these days.
it's great for sandwiches and goes really well with soup. i'll be making this again and again. the curse of the stoopid has lifted. i think.


  1. Hi Dana,

    super feinä Idea.
    Cind cunosti un Gust si vezi iaräsi undeva iti imaginezi si parcä il simti...
    Acuma savurez sie eu. Minunat

    Cu drag Jacob

  2. Moi aussi j'aime beaucoup le pain fait à la maison.
    Ton pain est très réussi.
    See soon.

  3. You did a great job of reproducing the store-bought bread and it looks so good! Not much better than roasted garlic :)


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