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
1 packet active dry yeast
1.5 cups warm water
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