This is two of my favorite house smells rolled into one doughy little ball. Fresh bread and garlic. YUM!
Because I only cook for my boyfriend and myself, I have scaled this recipe down to make one loaf, but if you have a big family I suggest making two.
You will need:
- 1 1/4 Cup and 2 tbsp. Flour
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. sugar
- 1/2 tbsp. Yeast
- 1/2 tsp. Garlic (1-2 cloves, minced and divided in half)
- 4-5 leaves fresh Basil, if not fresh 1/2 tsp. dried Basil (divided)
- 1/2 tsp. Thyme (divided)
- 1/2 tsp. Italian Blend Herbs (divided)
- 1/8 tsp. Black Pepper (divided)
- 1 1/2 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil (divided)
- 1/2 Cup Water
- Parmesan and Mozzarella (optional)
Mince your Garlic and set aside. (I also prep all of my herbs, excluding salt, together in a small ramekin and set aside as well.)
Proof your yeast with your warm water and sugar. Basically, mix your water sugar and yeast together and if bubbles form on the top then your know that the yeast if viable. Some bakers swear by it, some think it isn’t necessary, but it only takes a few minutes and I usually do it whether the recipe asks you to or not.
Add all of the salt, 1/2 of your herb mixture and 1/2 tbsp. of your olive oil and blend. Slowly stir in your flour until you have formed a ball of dough.
Knead, cover and let rise for 30-40 minutes or till doubled in size.
Shape your dough onto a greased cookie sheet, cover and let rise another 30 minutes. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.
Brush your dough with 1/2 tbsp. olive oil and, if you wish, egg wash to help the dough brown. Bake for 7 minutes.
Remove from the oven and brush with the remaining olive oil, and sprinkle with remaining herbs, garlic and cheese. Bake for an additional 7-8 minutes until golden brown then remove to wire rack to cool.
This bread is great and goes well with almost any meal, but I love it best when it is paired with an Italian dish like chicken Alfredo, lasagna or stuffed peppers.
I suppose if you really wanted to up the ante on this recipe you could take some course corn meal or the like and press that onto the bottom of the dough before baking. I may try that next time. Until then, Happy Baking!