Monday, March 27, 2006

Garlic Basil Hearthbread

I know. I know what I said about being done with dough. However, when faced with the choice of baking some sort of bread to go with tonights thrown together dinner, or trudging out to the store to buy something inferior, it seemed really stupid to not just make something.

And so, I went with something I have at least been looking forward to making, Nigella Lawson's Garlic Parsley Hearthbreads. I made some changes, like using basil instead of parsley, and even ended up tweaking the basic structure of the recipe a bit--I love Nigella, but I have found that her bread recipes are not always very clear. No worries, though, because the end result was fantastic: chewy, garlicky, deliciously savory bread, a perfect highlight to an otherwise lackluster meal.

Garlic Basil Hearthbread
serves 4-6

1 packet active dry yeast
1.5 cups warm water
pinch sugar
3.5-4 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp sea salt
5 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for topping
3 medium heads garlic
handful basil leaves, chopped

Mix yeast, sugar and warm water together in a warmed mixing bowl. Add 3.5 cups flour, salt, and olive oil and use a dough hook attachment to mix for 1 minute on speed 2. Continue kneading, adding additional flour if the dough is too sticky. Knead for 5-6 minutes.

Form dough into a ball (it will be soft and slightly sticky), and place in oiled bowl, turning to coat top. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour.

While dough is rising, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut the top of each garlic head off, drizzle with olive oil, and wrap loosely in aluminum foil, sealing edges well. Roast for 45 minutes (the top of your stovetop will be a nice warm place for dough rising). Remove from foil and let cool.

Once dough has risen, punch down and let sit for 10 more minutes. Divide dough in half. Roll each half of dough into a rough oval shape on parchment paper. Place each piece of parchment with the rolled dough on a baking sheet, cover and let rise for an additional 25 minutes, until puffy. Increase oven temperature to 400 degrees and let preheat for a good while--this tip came from Kevin at Seriously Good, and I think it really helped--thanks, K!

Squeeze roasted garlic into a bowl (it should be very soft). Using a fork, mix in basil and enough olive oil to make a paste. Using your fingers, make several indentations on each loaf of flatbread. Spread the garlic mixture evenly over each loaf. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the bread is a light golden brown and the garlic is a deeper golden color. If your baking sheets will not fit on the same shelf in the oven, rotate the two sheets halfway through baking. Sprinkle with salt right out of the oven.

Serve warm with any number of dishes. We enjoyed this fragrant yeasty wonder with grilled sausages, caramelized onions, and grilled tomatoes--wonderful


Passionate Eater said...

Basil sounds and looks like it is much more suited for that bread than parsley. Yum, if I were to try that bread, I'd add kalamata olives and sun-dried tomatoes. I once had this really delicious olive bread, and it looked almost as incredible as your garlic basil hearthbread. What I am talking about, it can't even compare!

Lela said...

I think that is my dream bread.

Cate said...

I don't know which looks better ... the bread or the roasted garlic?!

Ian said...

Well, you've done it - my mouth is watering uncontrollably now. This bread looks fantastic! I'm going to try this with some lamb curry. Cheers!

Lis said...

Hi Mrs C!

I just discovered your blog yesterday and have been reading back from the beginning.. your creations look and sound divine! I'm so happy to have found this blog =)

I wasn't sure if you checked back to older posts for new comments, so I decided to post my question here regarding the Creamy Roasted Veg Curry of March 19th.. I've always wanted to try curry of some kind and I've decided this recipe is the one I'm gonna try! My question is.. you say to add curry powder (or paste) to taste.. but since I've never had it before.. can you give me a guestimate of how much to add for the first time? Muchly appreciated! Thanks so much!

Marianne said...

First off--thanks everyone! It's a lovely bread for spring, give it a try.

Lis--I would start with a quarter teaspoon measure and just test it as you go. That's what I do at least. And keep in mind that curry can be a slow burn. Good luck and let me know how it goes!

Lis said...

Okay that's the way I'll go. I won't make it until hubbs gets home as he'd kill me if I actually cooked something with heat and he wasn't there for it, but I'll definitely let you know how it went =) Thanks!