This will probably be no secret to you but garlic bread is freakin’ delicious. The thing about most garlic bread is that it’s not actually garlic bread. It’s bread with garlic on it.
So I changed that.
I changed it by baking garlic right into the loaf. How could that not be delicious right?
1) Slice off the very top of each head of garlic and wrap them in foil. Then drizzle in a tiny amount of olive oil and sprinkle with salt.
2) Bake these at 350 degrees until the garlic is very tender and fragrant, about 30 minutes.
3) Let the roasted garlic cool for a few minutes and then squish out all the garlic cloves and mush them up with a fork. Don't over-mush though. Some pieces of garlic are nice.
4) To make the dough, add the flour, salt and yeast in a large bowl.
5) Mix together and then mix in the mashed garlic with your hands making sure the garlic is well-distributed.
6) Stir in the water and, using your hands, mix until the dough is together in a loose ball.
7) Cover and let rise for 14-18 hours at room temperature.
8) Pour the dough onto a lightly floured surface and fold it over itself a few times. Form a loose rectangle with the dough.
9) Sprinkle a good layer of cornmeal or semolina flour on a clean towel and add the dough loaf seam-side down on the towel.
10) Cover and let rise again for 2 hours.
11) Preheat your oven to 500 degrees with the pot of a dutch oven in the pan for 30 minutes. Don't pre-heat the lid of the pot. Your pan and oven should be very hot.
12) Take out the pan and flip your dough into the pan. Put on the lid immediately and cook, with the lid on, at 500 degrees for 30 minutes.
13) Remove the lid and cook for an additional 15-20 minutes.
14) Remove bread from pan and cool on a wire rack for at least an hour before slicing.
Roasting the garlic
If you’ve never roasted garlic, I suggest you stop reading and try it right away. When it’s roasted the flavor is much more mellow than when it’s raw. In fact, you can just take a clove of roasted garlic and smear it on some bread and have a very delicious snack. That’d be a bit brutal to do with the raw stuff.
To roast garlic, slice the very top of the head off, revealing all the individual cloves. Then wrap each head in foil and drizzle in a tiny bit of olive oil and a pinch of salt.
Wrap these little packages up and bake them at 350 degrees until the garlic is really fragrant and tender, about 30 minutes.
If you want to test them, you should be able to easily slide a knife into a clove with almost no resistance.
Let the roasted heads of garlic cool for a few minutes and then you can squish out each clove of garlic from the papery stuff.
I lightly mushed up all the roasted garlic. I wanted some chunks in the bread so I didn’t go crazy with the mushing.
Making the bread
I used a standard no knead bread recipe for this loaf. I started by combining my flour, salt, and yeast in a large bowl. Then I added in my roasted garlic and just used my fingers to make sure the garlic was well-distributed throughout the flour mixture.
Next, I added the water and quickly pulled it all into a ball, using my hands. Remember that no knead bread requires no, well, kneading. The dough will be really wet and saggy and pretty much impossible to knead anyway.
It’ll smell like roasted garlic though which is a good thing and you should be able to see tiny pieces of garlic in the dough!
Cover this and let it sit at room temperature for 14-18 hours. This was my dough before the rise.
This was after!
At this point you need to form the loaf. This is really easy and try not to stress about it.
Basically, just lightly flour a counter and pour (yea you’ll probably have to pour it) the dough onto the surface. Gently fold it over itself a few times and then form it into a rectangular loaf. Sprinkle a clean towel with a good layer of cornmeal or semolina flour and lay the loaf on the towel, seam side down.
Cover this with a towel (or just fold the towel over onto the loaf). Let it rise again for about 2 hours.
Cooking the loaf
Preheat your oven to 500 degrees. Preheat with your pot in the oven but not the lid of the pot for the last 30 minutes. You want to make sure that the pot and the oven are both super-hot.
Then, carefully pull your hot pot out of the oven and roll in your loaf of dough. The dough is still really wet so you probably won’t be able to actually pick it up. Just pick up the towel and roll it into the pot so the seam side of the bread is now up.
Should look like this!
Put the lid on the pot and cook it for 30 minutes. Then remove the lid and cook the loaf for another 15-20 minutes until the loaf is a deep dark brown.
This is some realllly good bread.
Remove the bread from the pot and let it cool on a wire rack for at least an hour before slicing into it.
Then slice it up!
The garlic flavor is actually subtle but nobody will miss it and you won’t have much of this bread left if you serve it to a crowd.
I know because I did serve this bread to a crowd!
More on that meal tomorrow…