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Life Recipe

Roasted Garlic & Rosemary Artisan Bread

The tradition of breaking bread has always related to people coming together and sharing a meal. It’s a ritual of communion and friendship.

I began the quest to learn to make bread when I was in my 20’s. Everyone told me that it was impossible to explain the texture of bread dough – that it was something you had to experience. Since I didn’t know anyone who made “real” bread, I signed up for a Saturday bread-making workshop in Don Mills, Ontario and there I made a perfect loaf of bread. While others couldn’t explain the texture to look for when kneading bread, I can. Tug on your ear lobe. That’s it. Seriously – that’s the closest thing I’ve found.

Having made the perfect loaf of bread, I promised myself never to do that again. That is a LOT of work and I don’t have strong hands or wrists. So I bought a bread machine. While I detested the texture of bread machine bread, I used it for many years to make the dough, which I then shaped and baked traditionally.

When the pandemic of 2020 hit us, everyone started making bread and if you search the internet, you’ll find thousands of recipes for No Knead Breads. I played with some of those and experimented with different yeasts and rising times. For Christmas, I decided to make a Roasted Garlic and Rosemary Artisan loaf. It took me 3 variations to come up with what I feel is the best.

Artisan bread should be soft and airy inside, with lots of holes and crevices. The crust should be crispy and golden brown. I tried to hold true to that while I added in the savory flavours of roasted garlic and herbs.

The list of ingredients is at the bottom of this post, but I wanted to walk you through my process.

Roasting the garlic

I like to use a medium sized garlic with at least 8 to 10 cloves. I cut off the top to expose the cloves and drizzled olive oil on top and sprinkle a bit of kosher salt. It’s roasted in a small covered baking dish, but since I don’t have one, I used a Pyrex bowl and covered it with tin foil. It worked perfectly. I baked it in the oven for 45 mins at 400 degrees F. until the cloves were soft and golden brown. Then I took it out and let it cool before using.

Proofing the yeast

Most of the recipes I found had the yeast mixed in with the flour. I like to proof my yeast. It only takes a few minutes and I’d rather find out at this point that my yeast is not good, before I use it in the bread and be disappointed with the results.

I use active dry yeast and instant yeast interchangeably. I’m currently using two types of instant yeast – Fleischmans, and British Class. The latter is finer and performs better, but Fleischmans is easier to find in Canada. I found the British Class in No Frills by the way.

I start with warm water – around 100 degrees F. If it’s too hot, you’ll kill the yeast. The warm water helps activate the yeast faster.   In a large bowl (preferably glass), I add 1-1/4 cups of warm water, 1 tsp of sugar, and then sprinkle 2-1/4 tsp of yeast on top. I stir it all together and wait 5 to 10 minutes, until I see the bloom on top.

Then I know I’m ready. While I’m waiting, I mince up the roasted garlic so it will be ready.

Add in the seasoning

When I see the yeast bloom, I mix in the salt, rosemary, and garlic. When substituting dry rosemary for fresh, remember that dried herbs are stronger, so only use a third. In this recipe, I added 2 tsp of dried rosemary, but you can substitute 2 tbsp of fresh if available.

Mix in the flour

When measuring flour for the bread, do not pack it down in the measuring cup. You want the flour to be light a fluffy. I stir my flour and then gently spoon it into the measuring cup. Add it to the water in whatever way works best for you. Some people prefer to mix the flour in a little at a time, others prefer a mixer with a dough hook (which I don’t have).

I use a Danish dough whisk, which does a great job mixing the dough and scraping the sides of the bowl. When there’s no more dry flour, you’re left with a wet, sticky dough. This is often referred to as shaggy dough. I drizzle the dough with 1 tbsp of olive oil, and roll it around so the oil covers it all.

First Rise

We’re ready for the first rising. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in a draft free place to rise. You can use a tea towel to cover it, but I find it takes longer to rise. Since it’s winter at the moment, my house is a bit cool, so I put my bowl in the oven. Even though it’s off, it is draft free. I let it rise for around 1 to 1-1/2 hours. What you want is for the dough to double in size. If you’re in a hurry for the dough to rise, leave the oven light on while it’s in there.

Second Rise

When the dough has doubled in size, turn the bowl upside down onto a floured surface. This dough will be a bit sticky so sprinkle a bit of flour on it so you can work with it. Don’t punch it down or you will lose the bubbles in the dough. Fold it in half and keep turning and folding it until it’s no longer sticky and it’s stiffer and resembles a dough ball. It’s usually around 5 times. Place the dough, seam side up onto a sheet of parchment paper, place in a bowl and cover with a clean tea towel.

While you wait for the dough to rise again, place your dutch oven into the oven and preheat to 450 degrees F. If you don’t have a dutch oven, use a large pot with an oven safe handle and a good fitting lid. My oven takes about 30 mins to reach 450 F.

Baking the bread

Lift the parchment paper and gently place it with the dough ball into the preheated pot (carefully – don’t burn yourself). Those seams will create the lovely crevices at the top of the loaf. Cover the pot and bake for 30 minutes. The steam inside the pot makes the bread so soft inside yet crispy outside. After 30 minutes, remove the lid and keep baking for another 10 to 15 minutes, until the loaf of the shade of golden brown you love.

Carefully toss the loaf out of the pot onto your counter or cutting board. Let it cool and resist temptation to cut into it for at least 10 minutes.

Ingredients

Roasted Garlic:

  • 1 head of garlic
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • salt to taste

Bread:

  • 2-1/4 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1-1/4 cups warm water
  • 1-1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp dry rosemary (or 2 tbsp fresh rosemary)
  • 8-10 garlic cloves, roasted and chopped
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Directions:

Roasted Garlic:

  1. Cut the head off the garlic to expose the cloves and place in an oven proof baking dish.
  2. Drizzle olive oil over the cloves and sprinkle with salt.
  3. Cover and roast for 45 mins at 400 degrees F.
  4. Remove and let cool.

Bread:

  1. Stir sugar and yeast into warm water in a large mixing bowl and let sit 5-10 minutes until the yeast blooms.
  2. Add in the salt, rosemary, and roasted garlic.
  3. Add flour to the bowl and stir until all the flour is mixed in, using a spatula to scrape the sides of the bowl. The dough may look rough and shaggy.
  4. Drizzle olive oil all around the dough, turning to coat all sides. Cover with plastic wrap and leave in a draft free place to rise (I place in the oven). Let rise at least one hour or until the dough has doubled in size.
  5. Place the dough on a floured cutting board. Sprinkle the top with flour to make it easier to work with.
  6. Pull and fold in the sides until the dough becomes relatively stiff. Shape into a round ball.
  7. Flour a second bowl and place the dough seam side down into the bowl and cover with a clean tea towel.
  8. Place an oven proof pot or casserole dish into the oven and preheat to 450 degrees F. When the oven reaches temperature, carefully place the dough, seam side up, into the pot and place in the oven.
  9. Cover and bake for 30 minutes.
  10. Remove the lid after 30 minutes and continue baking for another 10 to 15 minutes until the top is golden brown.
  11. Remove the bread and let cool approx. 10 minutes before trying to cut it.

Bon appetit!

Final Comments

This bread has no preservatives so it will go stale quickly. Here are some of the ways I use it:

  • Warm it slightly in the oven to bring back the crispy crust.
  • Slice and toast for an exceptional artisan sandwich with your favourite ingredients.
  • Cut into cubes, drizzle with olive oil and bake at 350 for 20 minutes for homemade croutons to use in salads and soups.
  • Slice and let the bread dry out then toss in a blender for savory bread crumbs.

What ideas can you come up with?

Categories
Recipe

Quick Apple Crisp

I don’t usually post recipes but this one has been asked for a few times so I thought I would share. This is not a recipe site though, so I don’t have an easy print button for you. Luckily, this recipe is easy to remember.

This recipe has become my go-to dessert when I need something quick. It might be because I’ve been invited somewhere at the last minute or just found out company is on the way. The recipe can be easily doubled.

If you object to anything made in a microwave, stop reading now. This is pretty much the only thing I “cook” in a microwave.

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

  • 4 medium tart apples – I use Granny Smith apples – peeled, cored, and thinly sliced.
  • 1/4 cup of sugar
  • 1 tbs flour
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1-2 tbs of maple syrup (optional and to taste)
Topping
  • 2/3 cup of old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 tbs cold butter.

Directions:

  1. Toss the apples with the flour, sugar, lemon juice, and cinnamon and put in a greased 9″ pie plate or baking pan. Drizzle with the maple syrup.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix the oats, flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Cut in the cold butter until the mixture is crumbly.
  3. Sprinkle the topping over the apples evenly and cover with wax paper.
  4. Microwave on high for 6 or 7 minutes, until the apples are soft. Each microwave is different so find what works for yours.

That’s all there is to it. Serve with whatever you want. Enjoy.