Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Garlic, Herb and Parmesan Crusted Bread

Making bread.
 It can be an intimidating thought but if you have a few key tips, you'll be a success at it every time! I'll fill you in. I find that most recipes say luke warm water and that seems to be where a lot of people get confused. Luke warm water means that when you touch the water it feels cool and hot at the same time. Yeah, like that clears it up! My motto is when you touch the water it's warm but on the hotter side of warm. Think of the temperature you would make the water for your little one to wash their hands and then use that.  Yeast is a touchy ingredient, if the water is too cold, the yeast doesn't wake up. If it is too hot, then the yeast dies. It's much easier to show you in person but alas, that is clearly not happening. Be encouraged, the temperature of the water is a step in breadmaking that will quickly become familiar.
1 TBSP yeast
1 1/2 cups of warm water
2 tsp sweetener- sugar, brown sugar, honey etc
4 cups of unbleached flour
2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp salt
For the crust rub
1 clove of garlic- zested into a paste
dried italian herbs
grated parmesan cheese
*My preference is to use my KitchenAid mixer to knead my bread. You can also do this in a bowl and knead with your hands or use a bread machine on the dough setting. All three ways will get the same end result*
With your dough hook attatchment, begin with the water, yeast and sweetener. (A sweetener of some sort is necessary. The yeast reacts with the sweetener to become active) Mix to combine. Add in the olive oil. Gradually add the flour in, adding the salt in with the last cup of flour. You will have to stop the mixer to scrape down the sides. Once a dough has formed, leave the mixer on medium speed for 5 minutes. Turn off the mixer and form into a ball in the mixing bowl. Cover the whole ball of dough with olive oil and set in a warm place, covered with a towel. Let rise for 15 minutes. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Remove and divide the dough into two equal parts. Form one part into a loaf shape. Set other dough ball aside.
Grate the clove of garlic onto a plate. Drizzle the top of the loaf with olive oil and spread the grated garlic evenly onto the top of the dough. Sprinkle with any italian herbs you have. Continue with a light sprinkle of salt and parmesan cheese. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes. Until top is golden brown. (If you don't want to grate the garlic, you could substitute it with garlic powder and simply sprinkle it on followed with the salt, herbs and cheese)
*The extra dough ball can either be another loaf of bread, a pizza crust OR  my choice were these delicious cinnamon rolls. ENJOY!


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