I love everything about garlic. My apologies to all my dear garlic-phobic friends but, seriously? I mean, take a look at this picture. If you have never tasted garlic bread, you are missing one of life’s greatest culinary pleasures.
It’s very easy to prepare and don’t get me started on the fantastic smell in the kitchen as it bakes.You can shape it as a long loaf or as a pull-apart bread, which I find very convenient when you are entertaining.
For the dough
- 1 kg unbleached bread flour
- 3 tsp dried active yeast
- 2 tsp sugar
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 Tbs olive oil
- 3 cups lukewarm water
For the garlic butter
- 125 grams unsalted butter, softened
- 4 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 Tbs parsley, finely chopped
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- a pinch of chilli powder
- coarse sea salt to sprinkle
Make the dough. In a large bowl mix the flour, yeast and sugar. Add the salt and mix again. Make a well in the centre and pour in the water and olive oil. Start incorporating the flour, stirring with a wooden spoon. Continue with your hands and knead until you have a soft dough. Alternatively, you can make the dough in a stand mixer, fitted with the dough hook. Adjust the flour if you feel dough is too sticky. Shape dough into a ball and put in an oiled bowl. Cover with a kitchen towel and let the dough rert for 1 ½ -2 hours, until double in size
Make garlic butter, while dough rests. Put soft butter in a bowl. Add the garlic, parsley, zest and chilli powder. Mix well with a spoon until all ingredients are incorporated. Divide butter in three equal parts. Use 1/3 to butter the base and sides of a rectangular (25 x 35 cm approximately) baking tray.
When the dough has risen, put on a floured surface and punch down to deflate. Divide in two and roll two ropes. Cut each rope into 12 pieces. You will have 24 pieces in total. Shape pieces into balls and put one next to the other in the pan, making 4 rows with 6 balls on each row. Brush with the other 1/3 of the garlic butter. (At this stage you can keep the garlic bread in the fridge, covered with plastic wrap. Just make sure it’s in room temperature before you bake it and has risen slightly). Cover the bread with a clean kitchen towel and let it rise for 1 hour. Preheat oven to 190 C, while bread rises.
Sprinkle bread with some coarse sea salt and bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes until golden in colour and cooked through. Take baking pan out of the oven and while bread is hot, brush with the remaining 1/3 of the butter. Serve at once.
Note: You can divide the dough into more pieces and shape smaller balls, 30 or 35 even. In this case you need to reduce the baking time by about 5 minutes.
Any left over garlic bread makes fantastic salad croutons. Just cut it in small cubes and bake in 160 C oven for about 30 minutes until toasted. When cooled keep in a zip lock bag or jar