Saturday, April 16, 2011

Stinking Rose Bread

Fortunately for me I've never had a fear of yeast so bread baking has always been delightful fun. I do find that even though I'm not fearful of super wet bread dough that I find it annoying which gets in the way of the fun, but can be educational. The devilish stuff seems to have more of a mind of its own than regular bread dough, which certainly seems to have some. The wet stuff slithers over the board and tries to make a getaway down the side, or a bit of it jumps...really...on to the nearest appliance or my sleeve as I'm 'kneading' it with my bench scraper. This month's Bread Baking Babes challenge, brought to us by the talented (but perhaps diabolic?) Natashya of Living in the Kitchen with Puppies, is for an addictive garlic bread that has an amazingly wet dough. Since garlic is sometimes called the 'stinking rose' you could say that this is a stinking slack dough bread.
I followed the recipe as written, very carefully, and can only conclude that what I buy in the market as "Bread Flour" isn't as sturdy as the "Strong white bakers flour" specified in the recipe. My loaf was flat and misshapen, but it was COMPLETELY delicious! Sweetie loved it and I enjoyed it and so did our friends whom we shared it with on the first picnic of the season. It goes well with many things, especially if they have a flavor that will stand up to the pretty intense garlic flavor.

The nice thing about the garlic is that it is cooked before going in to the bread so we didn't experience too much 'garlic breath' afterwards even there there were three very large heads of garlic in it. Because you cook the partially cooked garlic cloves with some balsamic vinegar, you get a hit of that, too. Once I'd drained the excess liquid off the garlic cloves mixture in order to put the cloves in the bread (couldn't imagine putting any more liquid into this bread!) Sweetie used the remaining balsamic/rosemary/garlic infusion to glaze some meat for the grill...and it was wonderful, too.

The temptation here (and I was very tempted) is to add lots of extra flour. If you make this, try it as written...I want company in the frustration department or better yet, I want YOU to be more successful than I was! Check out the posts of the other Bread Baking Babes for hints and tips and/or to commiserate. The links are on the bar at the right.

DO make this is truly delicious and unforgettable, wet or not. To be a buddy, just make it and post by April 29th, then send a link to Natashya at livinginthekitchenwithpuppies(at)hotmail(dot)com. Don't forget to check out Yeastspotting, too. Susan of Wild Yeast hosts this weekly event that is a wonderland of bread and roll recipes.

So here it is:

Dan's Garlic Bread
adapted from Dan Lepard, Exceptional Breads, by Dan Lepard
Dan has reworked the recipe to include a longer rise, less yeast, and less sugar.

for the pre-ferment
200ml water, at about 35C - 38C (95F - 101F)
1 tsp fast acting yeast 200g strong white bakers flour

for the dough
225ml water at 20C (68F) 10g sea salt
325g strong white bakers flour 75ml extra virgin olive oil

for the garlic filling
3 heads garlic, separated
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
50ml water
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons caster sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 spring fresh rosemary, leaves picked and chopped

for the pre-ferment
To easily get the temperature of the water roughly correct measure 100ml of boiling water and add 200ml cold water, then measure the amount you need from this. Stir in the yeast then, when dissolved, stir in the flour until evenly combined.

Leave the mixture covered at about 20C - 22C (warmish room temperature) for 2 hours, stirring the ferment once after an hour to bring the yeast in contact with new starch to ferment.

for the garlic filling
Break the heads of garlic into cloves and place in a saucepan, cover with boiling water from the kettle and simmer for 3 - 4 minutes.

Then strain the garlic from the water, cover the cloves with cold water to cool then peel the slivery skin from the garlic. It's surprising how few cloves you get after peeling so don't be alarmed if "3 heads of garlic" sound like way too much.

Heat the olive oil in a frying pan then place the add the cloves to it and cook until they are lightly brown (not burnt) on the outside. If you burn the garlic the flavour is nasty and you will have to start again, or serve it to your friends with a straight face, so watch them carefully.

Measure the balsamic and the water then add this to the pan with the sugar, salt, pepper and rosemary. Simmer for 5 minutes until the liquid has reduced to a thick caramel.

Scrape into a bowl and leave to cool. The garlic cloves should be tender when pierced with a knife.

back to the dough:

After 2 hours the pre-ferment should have doubled and look bubbly on the surface. Measure the water into a bowl and tip the pre-ferment into it. Break it up with your fingers until only small thread-like bits remain (this is the elastic gluten you can feel in your fingers)

Add the flour and salt then stir the mixture together with your hands. It will feel very sticky and elastic. Scrape any remaining dough from your hands, cover the bowl and leave for 10 minutes so that the flour has time to absorb moisture before being kneaded. Be sure to scrape around the bowl to make sure all of the flour is incorporated into the dough.

Pour 2 tbsp olive oil onto the surface of the dough and smooth it over the surface with your hands. Now rub a little oil on your hands and start to tuck your fingers down the side of the dough, then pull the dough upward stretching it out.

Rotate the bowl as you do this, so that all of the dough gets pulled and stretched. You'll find that the dough starts to feel and look smoother. Leave the dough in a ball, cover and leave for 10 minutes.

Repeat the pulling and stretching of the dough, for no more than about 10 - 12 seconds. You may find that an oiling piece of dough breaks through the upper surface. This isn't a bad thing, but it is a sing to stop working the dough. Cover the bowl again and leave for a further 10 minutes.

This time oil a piece of the worksurface about 30 cm in diameter. Oil your hands, pick the dough out of the bowl, place it on the oiled surface and knead it gently for 10 - 15 seconds. Return the dough to the bowl, cover and leave for 30 minutes.

Uncover the dough, oil the worksurface once more and flip the dough out onto it.

Stretch the dough out into a rectangle, then fold the right hand side in by a third.

Then fold the in by thirds again so that your left with a square dough parcel. Place this back in the bowl, cover and leave for 30 minutes.

Lightly oil the worksurface again and stretch the dough out to cover an area roughly 30cm x 20cm. Dot the garlic over the 2/3rds of the surface and then fold the bare piece of dough over a third of the garlic-covered dough.

Then roll this fold of dough over so that the remaining garlic-covered piece is covered by dough. Then fold this piece of dough in by a third...then in by a third again. Finally place the folded dough back in the bowl, cover and leave for 30 minutes.

Wipe the oil off the worksurface and lightly dust it with flour. Pin the dough out again as above and fold it in by thirds each way. Replace it in the bowl, cover and leave for a further 30 minutes.

Pin the dough out again fold it in by thirds each way again as shown. Leave the dough for 10 minutes while you prepare the tray the bread will rise on.

Cover a large dinner tray with a tea-towel. Lightly dust it with white flour, then cut the dough into thirds with a serrated knife.

Place the dough cut side upward on the tray then pinch the fabric between each so that they stay separated.

Preheat Oven and Prepare Baking Sheet/Stone
Cover and leave for 45 minutes while you heat the oven to 200C (same for fan assisted)/390F/gas mark 5-6. I put a large unglazed terracotta tile in the oven and shovel the dough directly onto it with the back of a small cookie tray. It gives a much better finish and perhaps the bread is slightly crisper, but the bread will still be good placed on a tray just before baking. I also put a small tray of water in the bottom of the oven so that the heat is a little moist, which will help the bread to rise and colour.

Lightly dust the back of a cookie tray (if you have a stone in the oven) or the surface of a baking tray with semolina or flour. Carefully pick the dough up off the cloth, scooping it in from end to end with your finger then quickly lift it clear of the cloth and onto the tray.

Either shovel the dough onto the hot stone, or place the baking tray in the oven, shut the door quickly and bake for 20 - 30 minutes until the loaves are a good rich golden brown


  1. I find it amazing that I wasn't at all disturbed by the wetness of the dough (until the shaped loaves stuck steadfastly to the teatowel - next time I'll use parchment paper for sure).

    But it's really good bread, isn't it?

    Great idea to use the extra liquid from the garlic filling as a marinade. I threw caution to the wind and dribbled it onto the dough when I was shaping. Hmmm, maybe THAT'S why the shaped loaves stuck to the floured tea towel....

  2. Wonderful, I am so glad you loved it too! Looks delicious, and great idea to use the glaze for the grill.

  3. oh yes it was a real wet and sticky dough and I hated working with it but I so loved the end result! yours looks delicious too.
    now I am craving a slice of this bread yet again!

  4. This is rustic bread, it's SUPPOSED to be flat and misshapen! Mine sure was. I think it looks perfect, and the deliciousness is the real prize anyway.

  5. These kinds of bread just have to look as rustic as they do, don't you love all those cloves sticking out of the dough when you cut it. Great loaves.

  6. I reduced the garlic liquid until there was almost nothing left; I really liked what you did with it.
    Yes mine were not much in the looks department either but I don't care...

  7. All that lovely, roasted garlic.... This bread saves a step in the eating, it's already baked in... Perfect! I would think it's hard to stop eating.

  8. Wet dough is scary to me, but fun, too. Your bread looks amazingly tasty!

  9. Lol, I wanted to use my bench scraper for the pulling and stretching but I couldn't find it! So in went the hands. Probably just as well as I adore working with slack doughs. I'll bet that grill meat was pretty fabulous with that marinade. ☺

  10. ;-) Love what a good read this is ... for such a wonderfully fabulous bread. I'm sure the balsamic and rosemary was an excellent marinade.
    When I make this anymore, I make twice the garlic ... either I'll be making the bread again soon or it finds "other" uses.