I stumbled across this recipe a while ago and decided that, since I’ve been meaning to improve my basic bread skills, I should try it. And it was a hit. We’ve had it with good lasagna and bad soup (don’t ask) and both times the bread was the clear star of the meal. I’m not usually one for white bread, but this is a treaty way to fancy up a meal on occasion. I’m going to write out what I did here, but I would encourage you to go back and read the original post; this guy really seems to know what he is doing and has obviously spent some time perfecting this recipe; the post is well worth reading over.
Before you get started on the actual bread, take a minute to smash some garlic cloves with the side of a knife and pour a 1/4 cup-ish of olive oil over top. The longer this sits, the more flavour it will have and you want to brush the top of the bread with it. I make enough so that I have extra, which I strain and then keep in a jar; it’s great for stir fry or roasting veggies with (or a million other things, I’m sure). And now for the main event:
4 cups flour (I’ve only made mine white so far, but a half and half mix would probably work well)
1 1/2 cups warm water
2 tsp active dry yeast
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp honey
1 Tbsp salt
Sea salt to sprinkle the top with
1. Stir water, honey, olive oil and yeast together in a large bowl and let stand for 5 minutes or until foamy.
2. Stir in salt and then flour, mixing as long as possible with a spoon and then turning out onto a floured surface to knead.
3. Knead for 10-12 minutes, or until smooth, soft and elastic. I recommend timing yourself, as I usually want to bail on kneading earlier than I should. I found with this bread I really started to notice the texture difference at around 9 minutes, but everyone kneads differently, so keep an eye on the clock and aim to fall between 10 and 12 minutes.
4. Let sit covered, in a greased bowl, for 1 -2 hours, depending on how much time you have, but at least until doubled. Punch down, form a ball and let rest for 15 minutes.
5. Preheat oven to 450. Line a cookie sheet with silicone or parchment and brush with the garlicky olive oil. Stretch your dough out by holding one end at a time and letting gravity do the work, then lay on a baking sheet and use your hands to make sure it is of a consistent thickness. Then use your fingers to ‘dimple’ the bread all over.
6. Brush the top of the dough with the olive oil and sprinkle lightly with sea salt. Pour 1 cup of water into a small oven proof dish and place in oven with bread. Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 375 and bake for an additional 30 minutes or until golden brown and hollow sounding.
7. Let cool for 30 minutes or so and serve, preferably with way too much butter.