Garlic Bread – with lots and lots of garlic (BBB April 2011)

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BBB: Let's Get Baking summary: recipe for Dan’s Garlic Bread with lots and lots of garlic; information about Bread Baking Babes and YeastSpotting; more magnetic poetry for spring: RePoWriMo; today’s poem; (click on image(s) to see larger view and more photos)

Bread Baking Babes (BBB) April 2011

Dan's Garlic Bread(bbb) Remember when I said last month that the Babes seem harmless? Well, now I’m not so sure. The gloves are off and they’re getting serious.

…something wicked this way comes.

This month we BBBabes are making Garlic bread. That’s right: Garlic. With a capital G. This is not just a couple of cloves. The recipe calls for 3 heads of garlic.

3 heads!!

My first thought was “mmmmm… garlic bread”.

My second thought was “must get parsley”.

My next thought was “parsley, smarsley… just give me some of that garlic bread”.

Garlic Bread Diary:

15 April 10:00 am:

Sigh. Starting just under the wire again. And later in the day than I thought. I had great plans for starting really early this morning. :lalala:

I made a few executive decisions and decided to add a little whole wheat flour and ground flax seeds to the starter.

I’m nervous. Nothing has gone awry and everything looks completely normal.

12:00 pm Oops. I forgot to notice exactly what time it was when I actually finished mixing the dough. (I’m hopelessly slow in the kitchen – I can’t stand being efficient :-)). But I’m guessing that it was about an hour ago. So, I just stirred the starter, as per the instructions. (Look at me reading the recipe!!)

I’m still nervous. Everything continues to look completely normal.

3:18 pm Why do I persist in congratulating myself that I can read?! I dutifully went down to the kitchen at 1:00 to make the rest of the bread. And only then noticed that I was really supposed to have made the garlic filling.


Luckily, the starter wasn’t bubbling quite as merrily as I expected, so I left it in the oven (with only the light turned on) and started to work on the three heads of garlic.

Pouring boiling water over top and simmering them for 5 minutes sort of went against the grain. I wondered why I couldn’t just have peeled them and oven roasted them in some oil, the way we normally do.

But I am an obedient BBBabe. I plunged the simmered garlic into cold water and proceeded to peel the cloves. Not an easy task!! They’re slippery little devils. Once again, I wondered why I couldn’t just have peeled them and oven roasted them in some oil, the way we normally do. It’s really simple to peel raw garlic….

Being a BBBabe who always (well, almost always) does what she’s told, I forged on. And read that I was supposed to have fresh rosemary.

Oh oh.

I made another executive decision and got some fresh basil (left over from Thai-style soup) out of the fridge. And got the rest of the ingredients out at the same time.

  • olive oil – check
  • Salt – check
  • black pepper – check
  • caster sugar (isn’t that just white sugar?) – check
  • balsamic vinegar – che… (oh oh… our balsamic vinegar is flavoured with raspberries!!)

I was SURE we had balsamic vinegar! No matter, I made another executive decision and used apple cider vinegar. And while I was at it, I decided to switch to demerara sugar rather than caster because its flavour might help to trick us into thinking the cider vinegar is balsamic vinegar.

I watched the cloves like a hawk. I really didn’t want to burn them!!

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.

(I’m still wondering if Lepard is cautioning us to watch the garlic or the friends carefully.)

Garlic filling (bbb) But again, everything went pretty much without any real difficulty at all. No burning was involved. Not even close. The garlic looks and smells wonderful.

Oh my!! Lepard is right; once the cloves are peeled and cooked, it doesn’t look like there’s that much garlic, does it? I wonder if I should have used four heads. :-)

Once the garlic was done, the starter was bubbling like crazy. I measured out the flours and salt. The dough continued to act like normal dough. It’s very far from being croc-like (those BBBabes just want to scare me).

3:55 pm I’ve just finished the third oiling session and am waiting 30 minutes til the next one. Again, I’m nervous. Nothing bad has happened yet.

4:33 pm Still nothing bad has happened yet. The dough remains decidedly uncroc-like.

5:14 pm Nope. Nothing bad yet. The dough is wonderfully silky and nice. I just finished adding the caramelized garlic to the dough. I licked my fingers after putting the last piece of garlic onto the dough.

Wow!!! Good thing I didn’t taste this earlier. I would have eaten it all before it even had a chance to be incorporated into the bread. THAT part of this bread is a keeper, even if the bread fails miserably. Which I highly doubt.

I can’t wait to do the next step!

(errmm… I just read the section about the floured teatowel. Oh oh. Is this where things are going to explode on me?)

7:06 pm: Eeekkkk!! Look at the time! How did that happen? I’ve just now done the tea towel step (not as hard as I imagined) but what was Mr. Lepard thinking when he suggested using a serrated knife to cut this really flabby dough?

I used our serrated knife for the first cut and then switched to the dough scraper for the next two cuts. Much much easier!! And the dough is now resting until it’s time to put it in the oven. (THIS time I’ve set two timers to remind me of the hour.)

I contemplated adding a stencilled garlic design but changed what’s left of my mind. Why mess up something that is working so well?

Garlic filling (bbb) midnight: Aha!! I should have known that things were going altogether too well today. At around 7:30pm, I had a devil of a time removing the dough from the tea towel and onto the peel! Luckily, this bread is SUPPOSED to look rustic… but it was just a little trying to be expecting to simply carefully lift the flabby pieces off of the floured tea towel and onto the peel, only to find that I had to use the dough scraper to gently pry the loaves away (leaving a big clump of dough behind).

Not to mention that I was baking the bread during dinner, having to hop up and down from the table to the kitchen to turn the bread around half way through baking.

It took 40 minutes rather than 30 minutes to bake. I still haven’t tasted it and (as good as it smells) am going to wait until morning.

Dan's Garlic Bread (bbb) Doesn’t that look delicious? Too bad I have no way of uploading the aroma.

You must make this bread! Here’s the recipe we were to have followed. And here is what I did to the recipe:

Dan’s Garlic Bread
based on a reworked recipe in “Exceptional Breads” by Dan Lepard

(makes three medium sized loaves)


  • 200gm water, lukewarm ¹
  • 3gm (¾ tsp) active dry yeast
  • 130gm unbleached all purpose flour ²
  • 60gm atta (finely milled whole wheat durum flour)
  • 6gm gluten flour (vital wheat gluten)
  • 2gm flax seed, ground
  • 2gm wheat bran

garlic filling ³

  • 3 heads garlic, separated
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 50ml water
  • 1 Tbsp cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp demerara sugar
  • 1 heaping tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • good shot fresh basil, chopped

actual dough

  • 225gm water, lukewarm
  • 250gm unbleached all purpose flour
  • 60gm atta (finely milled whole wheat durum flour)
  • 9gm gluten flour
  • 3gm flax seed, ground
  • 2gm wheat bran
  • 10gm kosher salt
  • 4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, more or less
  1. starter: Pour lukewarm water into a largish bowl; add yeast and whisk well. Set aside. stir in the flour until evenly combined.
  2. Add flours and ground flax seed to the yeast mixture. Stir with a wooden spoon until everything is mixed in.
  3. Cover the bowl with a plate and leave in the oven with only the light turned on (about 20C (70F)) for 1 hour. After an hour has passed, stir the starter once more. (Dan Lepard says this is “to bring the yeast in contact with new starch to ferment“) Cover the bowl again and return it ferment for one more hour.
  4. garlic filling: Break apart the heads of garlic into a small pot, cover the separated cloves with boiling water. Simmer for about 4 minutes.
  5. Strain the garlic and plunge it into cold water. Peel the garlic.(I’m thinking that next time, it would be simpler to peel the garlic cloves before simmering. It’s WAY easier to peel dry garlic cloves.)
  6. Stir the vinegar, water, sugar, salt, pepper together in a small bowl. Julienne the basil. Set both of these aside.
  7. Heat olive oil in a frying pan. Add the cloves and cook, stirring often with a wooden spoon until they are lightly brown (not burnt) on the outside. Be vigilant; it will seem like the garlic isn’t going to change colour, but it will do so suddenly. Remember that garlic WANTS to burn.
  8. Add the vinegar mixture and fresh herbs to the pan. Simmer for 5 minutes until the liquid has reduced to a thick caramel. Don’t worry if the oil separates.
  9. Remove from heat and set aside in a small bowl to cool. Lepard writes “The garlic cloves should be tender when pierced with a knife.
  10. actual dough: After 2 hours the starter should have doubled and be quite bubbly. Pour the water into the starter. Lepard says “Break it up with your fingers until only small thread-like bits remain (this is the elastic gluten you can feel in your fingers)” I was lazy and simply stirred it briskly with a wooden spoon.
  11. Add the flours, flax seed and salt and stir together with a wooden spoon, making sure to get all the flour mixed in. Scrape down the sides and cover the bowl. Leave to rest for 10 minutes
  12. kneading: Pour 2 Tbsp olive oil onto the top of the dough and smooth it over with your hands. Lepard says: “tuck your fingers down the side of the dough, then pull the dough upward stretching it out“. Rotate the bowl to stretch all the dough. The dough will begin to feel smoother and begin to be ball-shaped. Cover the bowl with a plate and allow it to rest for 10 minutes.
  13. After 10 minutes, repeat pulling and stretching but only very briefly. Lepard wrote the following that I couldn’t make head or tail of, so I just ignored it and hoped it didn’t matter that I had no idea what it meant: “You may find that an oiling piece of dough breaks through the upper surface. This isn’t a bad thing, but it is a sign to stop working the dough.” Cover the bowl again and l and allow it to rest for 10 minutes more.
  14. Now put 1 Tbsp olive oil onto your worksurface. Spread it around with the flat of your hands to about 30cm (12in) in diameter. Place the dough onto the oiled surface. Take this opportunity to wash out and dry the bowl. Oil your hands again and gently knead the dough for a very short time: 10 – 15 seconds. Return the dough to the clean bowl; cover and allow to rest for 30 minutes in the oven with only the light turned on.
  15. Once more, put 1 Tbsp olive oil onto the work surface and spread it around with the flat of your hands. Gently plop the dough out onto it.
  16. Stretch the dough out into a rectangle about 30cm x 20cm (12in x 8in). Fold the right hand side in by a third and fold the left side overtop – as if folding a business letter.
  17. Fold in thirds from the top to form a squarish dough parcel. Lift it into the bowl, cover and allow to rest for 30 minutes.
  18. adding the garlic There should still be quite a lot of oil left on the work surface… if not, pour a small amount of olive oil down. Gently plop out the dough and stretch it out into a rectangle (again about 30cm x 20 cm). Dot the garlic over two thirds. Fold the bare third over the middle third. Continue this business-letter-like folding to cover the other third. Fold in thirds again from the top to form another parcel. Place the dough back in the bowl, cover and let rest for a further 30 minutes.
  19. Clean the worksurface and lightly dust it with flour. Gently plop the dough out onto the board. Stretch the dough out again as above and fold it in thirds each way once more. Put the dough parcel back in the bowl, cover and let rest for a further 30 minutes.
  20. shaping: Dan's Garlic Bread Scatter a tiny amount of flour on the board. Stretch the dough out into a rectangle once more and again fold it in thirds each way as shown. Leave the dough on the board to rest for 10 minutes while you prepare the rising tray.
  21. Cover a large dinner tray with a clean tea-towel. Lightly dust it with white flour (find out later that you should have dredged the teatowel in flour and then lightly dusted on top of that). Cut the dough into thirds with a serrated knife. Realize that the serrated knife is completely useless for cutting and switch to cutting with the dough scraper. A cleaver would probably work well too. 4
  22. Put each piece of dough – cut sides upward – well apart onto the tray. Pinch the cloth upwards to keep them separated.
  23. Cover with another clean tea towel and leave to rise for 45 minutes.
  24. baking: Preheat the oven to 400F (200C) with the bread stone on the top shelf of the oven (I worried about burning on the bottom). Fill the bottom of a small roasting pan with water and put it onto the bottom shelf (for steam in the oven).
  25. Put a piece of parchment paper onto the peel. Carefully pick up the first shaped loaf off of the cloth and try not to curse too much as the cloth insists on staying attached. Get the dough scraper and gently ease the floppy thing off the cloth murmuring the F-word (the the five-letter one) and pledge to let the shaped loaves rise on parchment paper next time directly on the peel.
  26. Use the peel to put the bread onto the hot stone (the parchment paper can go into the oven too). Bake for about 30 minutes turning the bread around half-way through the baking to allow for uneven oven heat until the bread is dark gold in colour and the bottom sounds hollow when tapped.
  27. When the bread is done, remove to cool onto a footed rack. Wait until it is completely cool (the bread is still baking when hot out of the oven) before slicing.


1.) Water: Tap water is fine to use – just make sure that it has stood for at least 12 hours so that the chlorine has dissipated. Under no circumstances should you use water from the hot water tap. Heat the water in a kettle or microwave and add cold water until it is the correct temperature, (use the baby bottle test on the back of your wrist – your fingers have no idea of temperature!) Dan Lepard suggests a ratio of 1 part boiling water and 2 parts cold water.

Or you can use a thermometer. Lepard suggests a temperature between 35C (95F) and 38C (101F). Note that the temperature must be BELOW 48C (120F) because yeast begins to die when the temperature is higher than 48 C.

2.) Flours: Lepard calls for strong white flour. It has been increasingly difficult to find reasonably priced unbleached bread flour here so I used the ratio of 97% all-purpose and 3% vital wheat gluten (thank you Susan!!) to mimic bread flour. While I was at it, I decided it would be nice to add a bit of whole wheat flour and flax seed as well.

3.) Garlic Filling: Lepard calls for balsamic vinegar, 2 Tbsp caster sugar (extra-fine white sugar), 1 tsp salt and a sprig of rosemary leaves. I added a bit extra salt because we use kosher salt, which is much coarser. Also, because we didn’t have balsamic vinegar, I substituted with apple cider vinegar and then decided to use demerara sugar to get the caramel flavour that is missing from cider vinegar. Obviously, basil is not at all the same flavour as rosemary but I thought it would work. As soon as (ha; I should say if…) summer arrives, I’ll get a rosemary plant to try fresh rosemary. It will be interesting to taste the difference.

4.) Floured tea-towel: Oh my. That tea-towel is going to be a nightmare to clean. Next time I’m going to let the shaped loaves rise on lightly floured parchment paper directly on the peel. The parchment paper can be used again and it’s unlikely that the dough will stick to it.

Dan's Garlic Bread

I tasted the bread this morning. It’s even better than I expected. And I was expecting it to be really really good. Oops!! I forgot to get parsley. Ach, who cares. Having garlic breath is such a small sacrifice to make. Excuse me while I go to have another piece…. :-)

If you’ve managed to stay with me til now, you’ll already know that you neeeeeeed to make this bread!! Go start now.

As you tuck into it, you will completely forget that it’s ridiculously cold and dreary outside.

Bread Baking Babes
Bread Baking Babes: Garlic Bread

Natashya (Living in the Kitchen with Puppies) is the host of April 2011’s Bread Baking Babes’ task. She wrote:

Dan Lepard has kindly allowed us to feature his Garlic Bread as our bread of the month and let me tell you – it is head-over-heels amazing. All you need for dinner is some of this bread, a great salad, and a bottle of wine.

Share it with the one you love. Only, tell them you made two loaves, because I guarantee you will gobble one down before dinner is ready.

This is THE most delicious bread! Thank you, Natashya!

I have only one question: why didn’t we make this bread before?

Of course, you’ll want to bake along and receive a Baking Buddy Badge to display on your site; bake the Dan’s Garlic bread and post about it before the 29 April 2011.

For complete details about this month’s recipe, the BBB and how to become a BBB, please read:

Please take a look at the other Babes’ results:


Yeastspotting - every Friday ( image)

Each week, Susan (Wild Yeast) compiles a list of many bread-specific recipes from across the web. For complete details on how to be included in the YeastSpotting round up, please read the following:


magnetic poetryRePoWriMo 2011


As I’m sure everyone knows, April is National Poetry Month, and November is National Novel Writing Month. Both are simply awesome.

-Rhino Writer, RePoWriMo, “RePoWha?” Thursday, March 6, 2008

The virtual boxes of Magnetic Poetry (was at are very handy!

Today, I took tiles out of the “Artist” online Magnetic Poetry box. Here are your randomly chosen tiles (in alphabetical order) for round 8.

create electric empty grace imagine
ly monument more observe pain
shard s shimmer the then
think use weld write young

For how to play OUR version, please see the Magnetic Poetry Rules. For more information about RePoWriMo, please read the following:


magnetic poem Once again, you will want to compose your poem(s) before seeing what I did. Here is my composition from the words listed above. I composed two poems this time round. The first poem’s subject is specific to this wonderful garlic bread. I also composed a third poem (using tiles from the “Romance Edition” at after having a magnificent lunch of Dan’s Garlic Bread with stirfried eggplant, red pepper, mushroom, tomato and ham.

This entry was posted in baking, BBBabes, bread - yeasted & unyeasted, bread recipe, crossblogging, food & drink, posts with recipes, RePoWriMo on by .

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15 responses to “Garlic Bread – with lots and lots of garlic (BBB April 2011)

  1. Elle

    I’m so glad that your’s turned out so well Elizabeth! It gives me hope…and may encourage our Buddies to get their hands doughy. Great job and a lovely post with verve and detail, too.

  2. Rhino Writer

    Forget the poem, that bread sounds great! Your description cracks me up — I’m always substituting and realizing I forgot something as well. If you get the dough off the tea towel, please post how. I got a loose dough all over a favorite tea towel when it rose like crazy, and the poor towel still is lumpy.

    OK, off to read the poetry now. Didn’t want to lose this! mmmm, garlic bread.

  3. Rhino Writer

    Aaah, me again, posting three times, sorry. And love your poems, all three of them! “pain shards” (as in bread) — great description of all those little crackly bits that go flying everywhere. I might have to bake tomorrow …

  4. Susan/Wild Yeast

    I did dredge my couche in flour and my loaves STILL stuck! I get it off by letting it dry and then scraping it off with a dough scraper. And I too wondered about the garlic method, but I agree it’s a keeper. Great looking loaves, Elizabeth!

  5. Lien

    I’m sure that blanching had some kind of purpose (making it less strong or something??) I don’t know, and I bet it would have been as good when they were just peeled and roasted. Maybe we can try that next time! Stunning looking loaves.

  6. hobby baker

    Mmmmmm, lovely bread. I was foolish enough to make my garlic the night before, but managed to stay out of most of it by hiding it in a back corner. Maybe next time I’ll make 4 heads and dig in! Spread on crostini…. yum.


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