There are some recipes, that simply work. One only needs to follow the instructions, step by step, trust the culinary professional who understands what he is talking about and enjoy the delicious result coming out of the oven, reaping the compliments gracefully and with style. Yes, it is that simple…
We were having a business lunch in London, not far from the British museum. Our table was quickly getting covered with all sorts of tasty looking dishes when as a piece de resistance finally arrived a crispy garlic bread. Since then, we have been talking about this garlic bread remembering its amazing taste, we have been dreaming about making one at home, we have been looking at the menu hoping to be able to order a similar one in almost every restaurant in Belgium.
But when there is a will, there is a way… I have googled a recipe recently, and the only one that I found closely resembling our London garlic bread turned out to be from the famous British comedian Meera Syal. Following her simple instructions, my rosemary garlic bread turned out absolutely perfect, crispy and delicious.
We have enjoyed it as a side dish during a summer barbecue with grilled chicken, roasted vegetables and chilled sweet and fruity chardonnay.
- 1 tsp sugar
- 2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for greasing
- 300ml warm water
- 3 1/2 dry yeast, or 30g fresh yeast
- 500g flour, plus extra for dusting
For the topping
- 1 garlic bulb
- 200g butter, softened
- 1 small bunch of rosemary, leaves only, finely chopped
- sea salt
- black pepper
1. Place the sugar, oil and warm water into a bowl. Add the yeast and gently stir to dissolve the yeast.
2. Sift the flour into a bowl and make a well in the centre. Gradually add the yeast mixture to the flour, mixing it in with your hands until all the liquid is absorbed. It will be quite lumpy at this stage.
3. Knead the dough until smooth, then roll into a ball. Put some oil onto your hands and roll the ball around to cover it with oil.
4. Place the oiled ball of dough into a large floured dish. Cover with a cloth or some cling film and leave in a warm (but not hot) place to rise for one hour. The dough should have risen to three times its original size in this time.
5. While the dough is rising, make the topping. Preheat the oven to 180C.
6. Place the whole garlic bulb into a sheet of kitchen foil and drizzle with olive oil. Wrap up the foil around the garlic to create a sealed package and place into the oven to roast for one hour, or until the garlic is cooked and tender.
7. Remove the garlic from the foil and allow to cool. Transfer to a bowl and add the butter and rosemary. Mash the garlic well and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
8. Rub a pizza pan or baking tray with olive oil.
9. Roll the dough into one large 2cm/1in thick rectangle. You may bake the loaf like this, or cut the dough into smaller pieces to make individual loaves.
10. Place the bread onto the oiled pan or tray and prick it all over with a fork.
11. Spread the roasted garlic and butter mixture over the dough, then leave to prove for 30 minutes.
12. Preheat the oven to 230C.Transfer the dough to the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until golden-brown and risen.
13. While still warm, freshly out of the oven, sprinkle generously on top with sea salt.
14. Serves well warm and cold.