Garlic bread – Two ways

Garlic bread is always popular in this house and I am always trying to think of new ways to make it more interesting (both to eat and for me to make).

When it’s wild garlic season, (early spring), I make the garlic butter with the wild garlic leaves and, my goodness, it is delicious.

Garlic pull apart bread (tear and share)

The rest of the year we are happy with using garlic cloves chopped up with parsley. You can easily replace the wild garlic with this, so there is no need to feel left out if you don’t have wild garlic near to you.

Garlic Swirl Bread

This week I shaped the loaf differently making a swirl bread instead.

The same basic ingredients just presented in a different way. This is the case with so many bread recipes – they use the same ingredients you just present them differently. Think about a pizza dough, a hot dog roll, a tin loaf and a bloomer. All made out of the same simple white dough but they look very different (and can taste very different too).

These different shaping techniques can be used for all sorts of different fillings. You could choose olive tapenade, harissa paste, pesto or chocolate spread or cinnamon butter…

You can use any bread recipe that you like for these breads, white, wholemeal, spelt.. That can help to add variety too.

Here is my recipe for simple white bread and for garlic butter. The garlic butter is strong because that’s the way we like it but feel free to reduce the amount of garlic you add.

Ingredients

500g strong (aka bread) white flour
5g easy bake yeast (or 1 sachet for ease) or 15g fresh yeast
5-10g fine sea salt
Approx 320-340g water

Method

Place your flour in a large mixing bowl. Add your yeast and mix through the flour. If you are using fresh yeast you can crumble the yeast through the flour like you would rub butter through flour when making pastry. Add the salt and mix through the flour. 

Add 300g of water to begin with and using one hand like a claw begin to mix the dough. There should be no dry bits, so splash in more water gradually as needed. You want the dough to feel soft and slightly sticky. Watch this video to see what your dough should look like and how to stretch and fold it to develop the gluten. If you prefer to knead this video will show you how. You can also use a stand mixer, this article describes my preferred method for using a stand mixer.

Once you have developed the dough using either the stretch and fold method, kneading or a stand mixer it is time to let the dough ferment. Keep the dough covered well, either with a large plastic bag, a shower cap or a proving cloth. If you keep the dough at room temperature it will have become light, airy and doubled in size in an hour or a little longer in a cool kitchen. To improve the flavour and texture of the loaf you can ferment it in the fridge overnight or for several hours. This is ideal if you have a busy day ahead and won’t be hanging around in the kitchen. It takes ten times longer for a loaf to prove in a fridge than at room temperature. 

Follow the instructions in either of the videos for shaping the bread, allow it to rise at room temperature (or if you need more time, in the fridge) and bake at 220C, gas mark 7, 425F for 30-35 minutes until fully baked. Allow to cool before eating when just warm.

For the Garlic Butter

150g unsalted softened butter
3 cloves of garlic
Generous handful of parsley
half teaspoon of fine sea salt

Method

Chop the garlic, parsley and salt together until finely chopped. Mix into the butter and then use as per the recipe. The butter can be kept in the fridge for two weeks or frozen for three months.

Want to learn more about making bread?

You could join us for a day of bread making at our cookery school in Ironbridge. We have courses suitable for everyone.

If you would prefer to lear at home and at your own pace then take a look at our online bread courses.

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