Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Garlic bread

This month the Bread Baking Babes bake Dan’s Garlic Bread, and of course I joined them.

We love garlic; we probably eat it every day. Living in Thailand it is a daily ingredient in food, together with chili and onion. During March; harvest of garlic, you see something amazing on the roads here. Pickup trucks are pilled up, as high as 4 meters with garlic in the back. From a far distance you can see and smell garlic coming up. All villagers are helping to collect the garlic from the fields and spreading them to dry. Everywhere you go there is garlic. So, we like the choice of the Bread Baking Babes for Dan’s Garlic Bread.Before I started I had a look at the blog of Natashya; host of this month BBB.
and Lien and also the blog of Susan
Susan wrote about all the great things to do with the delicious caramelized garlic cloves. I immediately cleaned more cloves than I needed for the loaves.

Next time, yes there will be a next time for these delicious garlic breads, I will clean the cloves of garlic and don’t simmer them. Probably because we eat so much garlic almost every day, we didn’t tasted or smelled the great smell of garlic in these breads as much as we like to. Also cleaning wet garlic is not a nice job. I prefer to clean the cloves when they are dry. I cut off the bottom and slash them with a piece of wood to open up the peel. If you don’t hit too hard the cloves stay whole.
Lien wrote about her using very old balsamic vinegar. I would like to use this, but don’t have it. I used my daily apple vinegar and the cloves turned out beautiful.
Natashya, who has some great looking puppies, used strong white bakers flour. I used high protein flour. Besides the use of dried rosemary I followed the recipe with all the folds and stretching and waiting. The result is worth it. I’m very happy with the loaves, they look delicious. That evening we eat one loaf with my home made French onion soup, a great pair. The garlic bread has a soft and moist crumb with nice pieces of caramelized garlic. I used most of the original recipe I found at Natashya's blog.

Dan's Garlic Bread
reprinted with permission from Dan Lepard, Exceptional Breads.
Dan has reworked the recipe to include a longer rise, less yeast, and less sugar.
Step-by-Step photos here
This is what I used
for the pre-ferment
200ml water, at about 35C - 38C (95F - 101F)
1 tsp fast acting yeast (I used dry yeast)
200g strong white bakers flour (I used high protein flour)

225ml water at 20C (68F)
325g strong white bakers flour (I used high protein flour)
10g sea salt
75ml extra virgin olive oil

Garlic filling
3 heads garlic, separated
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
50ml water
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar (I used apple vinegar)
2 tablespoons caster sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 spring fresh rosemary, leaves picked and chopped (I used dried rosemary)

This is what I did:
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. (because of the temperature in our house of 38C everything went faster)

Garlic filling Break the 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. (Next time I wouldn’t do this. I would use raw gloves to have more taste and smell of garlic)

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 flavor is nasty and you will have to start again.

Measure the vinegar 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.

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.

Pour 2 tbsp olive oil onto the surface of the dough and smooth it over the surface with your hands. Rub a little oil on your hands and start to tuck your fingers down the side of the dough, and then pull the dough upward stretching it out.

Make sure 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 sign to stop working the dough. Cover the bowl again and leave for a further 10 minutes.

This time oil a piece of the work surface 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.

Oil the work surface 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 dough by thirds again so that your left with a square dough parcel. Place this back in the bowl, cover and leave for 30 minutes.

Lightly oil the work surface 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.

Wipe the oil off the work surface 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, and cut the dough into thirds with a serrated knife.

Place the dough cut side upward on the tray then pull the fabric between each piece so they stay separated.Cover and leave for 45 minutes while you preheat the oven to 200C (same for fan assisted)/390F/gas mark 5-6. I used a large glazed terracotta tile in the oven and dusted with some semolina flour. For steaming I used the cake pan with rocks and some water.

Gently put the dough onto the hot stone, shut the door quickly, and bake for 20 - 30 minutes until the loaves are a good rich golden brown. Let them cool on a wired rack.

I will send these loaves to Natashya for BBB of april 2011 and to Yeastspotting

Print Page


  1. Beautiful breads! Thanks so much for baking with us this month.

  2. Haha, you were so smart to make extra garlic! I used white balsamic for mine since that was all I had. So it looks like the vinegar is forgiving as to what type you can use. I totally agree - this is a keeper recipe. ☺

  3. Wonderful loaves here too!! isn't it fun when everybody is baking them :)

  4. Gorgeous, gorgeous!
    Love that you made extra garlic! Me too.

    Thanks so much for baking with us.

  5. Thank you all for your kind words, I am happy with my loaves and they tasted great. But did you see the most beautiful garlic loaves ever made by hobby baker of a messy kitchen (sorry can't find her name).

  6. Lovely pictures and great bread! You can see the silkyness of the dough in the pics, great job!
    Thanks for baking with us!

  7. So fun to read about your garlic harvest. I can see why this bread was a hit at your house. It looks great.

  8. I'm with you on omitting the garlic simmering step. It's WAY easier to peel dry garlic. Next time, I might even omit the vinegar and sugar and just caramelize the garlic with olive oil and rosemary leaves. There's so much sugar naturally in garlic as it is.

    Your loaves are beautiful.