rosemary + roasted garlic bread

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When I bake, my kitchen’s a bit of a hurricane. My apartment is small, six hundred square feet {with an abnormally large three hundred square foot deck}, and I like it that way because there’s less space of which to fill with unnecessary things. Though I’d rather give up my bedroom to have an enormous kitchen with oceans of the counter space. Instead, I try to make the best of what I have, make efficient use of storage, but there’s always piles of nuts and herbs and boxes of things and cookbooks on the counter.

It’s a mess, but it’s a beautiful mess. It’s my mess, always undone, always inviting. The opposite of the whitewashed Kinfolk life, where space is abundant, kitchens are basked in efulgent light, and the linens are bespoke and handwoven.

Last night, I spent the better portion of the evening making this lovely bread from the Kinfolk cookbook. When I unearthed it from the oven, I felt victorious. Roasted garlic and rosemary perfumed the room, and there’s nothing better than slathering cool butter on hot, homemade bread.

Although I had to do a bit of tinkering with the original instructions, the bread delivers — an absolute must-bake. Part of me wonders if I should publish corrections to all of the recipes in need of help in this lovely tome.

INGREDIENTS: Adapted from The Kinfolk Table: Recipes for Small Gatherings, with modifications
1 large head of garlic
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus additional for brushing + serving
2 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp cane sugar
1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
1 cup water, warmed to 110F
3 cups bread flour + 1/4 cup on hand in the event your dough is too sticky
2 tbsp minced fresh rosemary
1/2 tsp dried oregano
Freshly ground black pepper
Coarse sea salt
Balsamic vinegar
Special equipment: Thermometer, pastry brush, spray bottle with a bit of water, stand mixer + dough hook attachment, baking sheet

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DIRECTIONS
For roasting the garlic: Pre-heat the oven to 400F. Cut the head of garlic in half and drizzle with 3 tbsp of olive oil, making sure the interior and exterior are coated. Season the cut sides with coarse sea salt. Press the garlic halves together and wrap tightly with tin foil, roasting for an hour until the cloves are juicy, golden, and soft. Set aside on a rack to cool.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the sugar and two teaspoons of salt in a large bowl. Stir in the yeast and water, and allow the mixture to stand until it foams, approximately 10 minutes. If your yeast doesn’t foam, dump it. It’s not activated and won’t give your dough the height and softness that will make it divine. The reasons for your yeast not activating: you’re either using bad {or expired} yeast, or your water was too hot. That’s why a thermometer is key. I tend to boil my water and watch the temperature rise.

Once your yeast is activated, stir in three tablespoons of olive oil and three cups of the flour. Knead the dough in the stand mixer for six-seven minutes. The dough will look as if it won’t come together, trust me, it will. If the dough is too wet + sticky, add some of the reserve flour, a tablespoon at a time. If you’re not using a stand mixer, knead by hand (pulling with your fingers and pushing back with the heels of your hands) for ten minutes.

Add one tablespoon of the fresh rosemary, the oregano, and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper and knead in the mixer for two minutes, or by hand for five minutes. Squeeze the cloves out of their skins and add them to the mixer, and gently knead until combined (30 sec-1 minute in a mixer), 1 minute by hand.

Shape the dough into a ball. Brush a large bowl with the remaining two tablespoons of olive oil, place the dough inside, and turn several times until completely coated. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave in a warm place for an hour, or until doubled in size.

After the first rise, punch the dough down and shape it into a round loaf. Using a sharp, serrated knife, make a criss-cross design on top. Place the loaf on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, then cover with the large bowl you used originally. Allow the dough to rise for another hour, or until doubled in size.

Ten minutes before the end of your second rise, pre-heat the oven to 375F. Brush the loaf with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt and remaining one tablespoon of rosemary. Bake for fifteen minutes, then spray the loaf with water and bake for another fifteen minutes. After the half hour, increase the oven temperature to 425F, spray the loaf once again and bake for another five minutes, or until the top is golden brown.

Transfer the baking sheet to a rack and cool for 10 minutes. Serve with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and pepper. Or, you can opt for the classic — cool butter.

The bread is best eaten the day it’s made.

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4 thoughts on “rosemary + roasted garlic bread

    1. Hey there! In all candor, I wouldn’t pair this with pasta, as the bread is pretty rich and filling. It might be a nice side for chicken/meat or a veggie dish, but even I, the carb lover, couldn’t handle this with linguine. :)

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