Will Sacrifice Fresh Breath for Roasted Garlic Bulbs

May 13, 2011

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The delicious smell of garlic, lightly dappled with olive oil and sprigs of thyme, roasting in the oven filled my kitchen this afternoon.

Roasted Garlic Bulbs from The Garden-Fresh Cookbook are a fantastic and easy way to add flavor to pasta sauces, pizzas, chicken, and homemade French bread. I roasted my garlic in tin foil and anxiously waited to spread the garlic heads onto my French bread.

If you couldn’t tell already, I love my garlic. Even a first date wouldn’t stop me from picking out a dish heavy with the stuff! No matter your preference—a lot or a little—how can you resist garlic with melted butter on a freshly baked baguette?

To make the baguette, I bought yeast in packets. With the remainders, I’ll get creative this weekend and make homemade pizzas. I plan to spread roasted garlic and olive oil on the base of the pizza and add ricotta, mozzarella, arugula, and pine nuts!

I’m sharing a homemade French bread recipe that I started making when I was first getting into baking at around the age of 12. It has been shared with close family friends and passed down through several family generations. Try this recipe or use your own—either way, you’ll fill your house with the smells of warm crisp bread and roasted garlic.

Roasted Garlic Bulbs

Slow roasting turns garlic cloves into a soft, creamy paste with a mild, nutty flavor.

2 heads garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil
5 sprigs thyme
salt and pepper, to taste
French bread

Preheat the oven to 300°F. Remove the outer layers of garlic skin. Slice about 1/2 inch off the tops of the heads to expose the cloves. Put the heads, cut side up, in an ovenproof dish or wrap in heavy-duty foil. Drizzle the oil over the garlic, add the thyme sprigs, and season with salt and pepper (before wrapping in foil, if used). Cover and bake for about 30 minutes, or until very tender. Remove from the oven. Squeeze the garlic heads at the base and spread the paste onto the French bread. Makes 2 servings.

French Bread

1 envelope dry yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2 cups warm water
4 cups all-purpose flour

Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast, sugar, and salt in the warm water. Let stand for 10 minutes. Stir in the flour, then turn out onto a floured surface. Lift and turn the dough, which will be very soft, until it coheres enough to knead. Add more flour as necessary and knead for 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Put in a clean bowl, cover with plastic wrap or a large dishcloth, and let rise for 45 minutes in a warm place. Dislodge the dough from sides of bowl and turn out. Gently pat flat, dust with a little flour, and fold in half to form a half circle, and then again to form a quarter circle. Return to the bowl and let rise another 30 minutes. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, pat flat and fold in half, cut into four equal pieces, roll out to the desired length, and place on a greased baking sheet. Bake in the oven for 35 minutes, or until golden brown. Makes 4 loaves.
 

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Jane received her Bachelor's in Fine Arts at Western Washington University where she studied Creative Writing. She now lives in the greater Seattle area, where she writes and drinks copious amounts of coffee. When she isn't writing, cooking, gardening, or taking photos, you can find her at local shows and concerts, or running to prepare for yet another half marathon.

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