Theres nothing much better than warm fresh bread, except maybe warm fresh sourdough bread. For a few years now I’ve pampered and fed my natural yeast. While its a bit finicky at times its always worth the effort. I go through phases where I make EVERYTHING sourdough to periods where I just forget it at the back of my refrigerator and poor mother dough turns gray and gloopy. This recipe is a very very flavorful and chewy bread. Instead of taking a long time to roast garlic I made a stove top roasted garlic with rosemary and extra virgin olive oil and incorporated it directly into the dough which resulted in a wonderful variation of garlic bread. Instead of taking near an hour it took around ten minutes. To be honest my primary concern for roasting garlic is that my husband complains of the smell and how it affects his asthma. While I do love slow roasted garlic I’m not trying to kill him!
This bread is great for serving with soups and stews, add additional oil or butter with garlic powder and its amazing with pasta. I even made hoagies and panini’s with it. Talk about a wonderful grown up grilled cheese!
Roasted Garlic Sourdough:
1/4 cup (2 ounces) extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon Rosemary (dried)
1/2 cup (3 ounces) peeled garlic
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher or sea salt
1 teaspoon yeast
1 cup water
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup wet starter (starter with about 3 tablespoons of warm water to help smooth it and rejuvenate it)
2- 2 1/2 cups all purpose unbleached flour
1 cup white wheat flour
To make the garlic. Place the oil, rosemary and garlic in a saute pan. Bring up to high heat. Once the oil begins to bubble reduce to a simmer and slowly cook up to 10 minutes. Flipping once or twice. Once the garlic is cooked and browned allow it to cool enough for handling. Once the garlic is cool place in a mortar and pestle with a pinch of salt and smash until smooth. (you could use a processor or use a spoon and a bowl) Combine the oil back with the garlic and salt.
To make the dough remove your starter from the refrigerator add 2-3 tablespoons of warm to hot water , not too hot. Combine with the starter and remove 1 cup of it. (feed your starter with 1 cup flour 1 shy cup water place on the counter until bubbling and then place it back in your fridge.) Combine yeast, water and sugar. Allow this mixture to bubble (about 5 minutes) Once your yeast is active combine add it with the sourdough starter and the crushed garlic mixture. Stir to combine and then begin adding your flour one cup at a time until you’ve got a somewhat wet dough. Do not use all of the flour if it is not necessary. Knead by hand about 10 minutes or 5 minutes with a mixer/processor, use a limited quantity of bench flour if possible, too much flour will result in a denser bread. Once the dough is mostly smooth place in an oiled bowl in a warm area for about 2 hours. Place the dough in the refrigerator overnight, I use plastic containers with vents, if you don’t have something similar you could use any plastic container with a cracked lid or even a bowl and some cling wrap. Avoid stainless bowls however because your sourdough will turn colors and it may affect the flavor of your bread.
The following day your dough should weigh approximately 40 ounces. Divide the dough into two pieces for two long baguette shaped loaves, two boules or into 4-8 pieces for hoagie or cheese steak style rolls. For the long baguette shapes roll each piece of dough into a long rope pinch the sides together and smack the dough firmly to seal it. Place the creased side down and roll under the edges to smooth. Place on parchment lined paper or a silicone baking mat. (this same process for hoagie rolls) For boules twist the dough in a circular motion pinching the dough on the underside to seal it shut. (Seam side down on a floured surface, if you have baking stones utilize them for baking)
Allow to proof at room temperature for about 2 hours until its doubled. If you live in a colder climate like I do you might want to preheat your oven to 100 degrees and place them in there. After about 10 minutes turn the heat off. (remove bread before preheating the oven)
Preheat your oven to 500 degrees.
If you have a tray pan or broiler pan place it on the bottom rack of your oven and prepare 1 cup of ice cold water, AND/or a spritzer bottle with cold water.
Slit the dough with a sharp knife or razor blade about 1/2 inch deep. Place the loaves in the oven and quickly place the ice water in the broiler tray. Spray the sides of the oven with a mist and shut the oven door.
*Reduce heat to 450 degrees, and bake 20-25 minutes. If your crust is over browning reduce the heat or shut the oven off if your close enough to baked bread.
Allow the bread to cool completely (at least 30 minutes) before eating. Its hard to resist but I assure you allowing the bread to rest will increase the flavor.