Monday, May 18, 2009

Pull-apart garlic bread

Once upon a time, I made these soft garlic knots. I wasn't sure I'd like the butter poured over the top, but it turns out I did like it. It reminded me of the disgustingly-greasy garlic bread from Jack Aster's, a restaurant we used to frequent back in Rochester. I think, although I could be wrong, that bread had been pull-apart, because I just remember my fingers always getting really greasy. Anyway, I decided to replicate that garlic bread, in a slightly less greasy fashion, with a pull-apart loaf that had been drizzled with garlic butter. Ed got his hands on this idea and didn't approve of the drizzling part, so we had bread soaked in garlic butter instead. It worked well, so I guess I'm glad he got his hands on my bread!

I started with a regular bread recipe, although I think I used twice the yeast I was supposed to, because this bread rose AGRESSIVELY. It didn't taste too yeasty, though, and I liked the texture, so I think I'll stick with that much yeast. When it came time to shape the bread, I formed it into little balls and let them rise together in a loaf pan. If you wanted more buttery-garlic flavor, you could divide the dough into twice the number of balls and put it into two loaf pans, then double the amount of garlic butter at the end. As it was, my one loaf-pan rose to full loaf height, which required a little bit more dexterity in the pulling apart. I liked it that way, though. Once it has risen the second time, you bake it, and when it is golden brown, you pull it out and dump garlic butter and salt all over the top, and grate some optional parmesan cheese on top. mmmmm.

Pull-apart garlic bread

2-3C flour
1 tbs yeast
1C warm water
1 tbs sugar
1/2 tsp salt

Garlic butter:
4 tbs melted butter
4 cloves garlic, minced.
~1/2 tsp kosher salt
grated parmesan cheese, optional

Put the warm water in a big bowl, stir in the sugar, and add the yeast. Let it sit 5-10min, until its getting bubbly, then add the first cup of flour. Stir that around, then add the 1/2 tsp of salt. Add the next cup of flour. It should be getting more dough-like, now. Put part of the third cup of flour on the table for kneading, coat your hands in flour, and start to knead the dough in the bowl. Once its together, dump it onto the table and knead, adding flour as necessary, for about 10 minutes. It should be feeling pretty smooth and elastic before you give up.

Grease the bowl and put the dough in the bowl. Let it rise, covered, for about an hour, until doubled in bulk. Dump it back out on the table and divide into 16 equally-sized balls. I use a knife to cut the dough into equally-sized pieces, generally.

Grease a bread pan (you could use a 9" cake pan if you had one, alternatively. It might look prettier) and put your dough balls into the pan. Its ok if you have to squish them, they'll just rise upwards. Cover the pan and let it rise for another 1-2 hours.
(dough balls before rising)

Preheat the oven to 400F. In goes the bread. Cook for 20 minutes, until the top is golden-brown. Take the pan out of the oven.

Melt the butter and mix it with the garlic. You can either sprinkle the salt on top or mix the salt in with the butter. Pour the garlic butter onto the bread, making sure it covers all the nooks and crannies. Slide the bread out of the pan using a spatula. Grate some cheese on top if you want (you want). Tear it apart one ball at a time and enjoy!
I see a hand sneaking in to steal some bread...

Probably because of the butter, it was still good the next day. I don't think I'll be able to give a third-day report, though... there won't be anything to report on!

One alteration that could be quite good would be if you poured on the garlic butter and then returned the bread to the oven for 5 minutes. I'll try that next time. Because there will definitely be a next time.

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