Another GBBO inspired recipe, I’m afraid, although I didn’t go the whole hog and do the 8 plaits, it looked much too much like maths for my liking. I’m not that great at bread usually, it always turns out a bit too claggy and dense, mainly because I’m lazy with the kneading, and something to do with my kitchen being too cold for dough to rise properly. This morning though, my boyf left for work at 7:10, leaving me unnaturally awake and keen for something to do that would fill the house with the smell of baking. My parents were confused to say the least when an hour later they came down to find me roasting garlic.

Maybe I’m more patient with kneading in the early morning, but this bread turned out really delicious, light in the middle, crispy on top, and the combination of garlic and rosemary works really well. Something about creating something so delicious and that looks so great is extremely satisfying. I used a recipe from Cook Eat Live Vegetarian, but adapted it slightly, using strong white flour instead of spelt.

Garlic and rosemary loaf

1 head of garlic
1 tsp olive oil
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
450 gr (3 cups) strong white bread flour
1 tbsp sugar
1 sachet of quick action yeast
1 tsp salt
75 ml milk
75 ml water
3 tbsp olive oil
1 egg, lightly beaten

Cut the head off the garlic and roast at gas 7 for 35 minutes, with a sprinkling of rosemary. Then mix the flour, sugar, yeast and salt together. Heat the milk and water and olive oil together until warm, then add to the flour mixture. Squeeze the garlic cloves out of their skins, and mash with a drop of water. Then beat in an egg until it’s all well mixed together.

Add the garlic into the flour and milk mixture. You’ll end up with a very sticky dough, but that’s ok. Knead for 10 minutes on a very floury surface (DO IT!). Then set aside for 10 minutes. Divide into three balls, then roll out to make three ropes of dough. Plait them, tucking the ends in to make it look neater. Leave for an hour to double in size. Bake for 15 minutes at gas 4. Brush with olive oil, sea salt and rosemary, then put back for another 12 or so minutes. Extract and leave to cool.

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