Artisan Bread - (It may it sound intimidating and difficult, but I promise it's anything but that!)
This bread is the perfect vehicle to add your favorite flavors to and it just enhances the experience of eating and enjoying that beautiful loaf you made with your own hands! Roasted Garlic, rosemary, cheese and oven roasted tomatoes, as well as lemon zest and thyme, are some of my very favorite things, so why not add it to your bread and have the best of all worlds! This bread has a beautifully soft texture and an amazingly gorgeous , golden exterior. All of the flavors you include only add to the amazing addition to any meal this bread will be!
1 head garlic, roasted and chopped up
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups room temperature water
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
1/4 cup oven roasted cherry tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup shaved parmesan, asiago or whatever cheese you love!
To roast the garlic, heat the oven to 425 degrees. Slice the top off the head of a garlic bulb to expose the cloves, then drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil over the exposed garlic cloves. Wrap in tinfoil and roast for 45 minutes, then remove from oven and cool until the soft garlic can be squeezed out of the papery skin.
To roast the tomatoes, cut the cherry tomatoes in half and lay cut side up on a sheet pan lined with parchment. Roast at 250-300 for about 45-60 minutes. Check on them so that they don't get crunchy...you want them to be soft and a bit dehydrated.
In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt, yeast, rosemary, roasted garlic, tomatoes and cheese. Add the water and stir to combine, just until it starts to come together in a very shaggy dough. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let it sit on the counter at room temperature for 12-18 hours.
When you are ready to bake the bread, place a dutch oven, pizza stone, or other oven-safe pan in the oven to preheat and heat the oven to 450 degrees.
Working on a clean, well-floured surface, turn the dough out onto the counter or table and shape into a ball using floured hands. The dough will be very sticky.
Carefully place parchment into the hot vessel. Drop the ball of dough into the preheated dutch oven or other baking dish, cover with lid or an oven-safe bowl, and bake for 30 minutes with the lid on. Remove the lid and bake for another 10-15 minutes, until golden brown and crusty on top.
Remove bread from the dutch oven to cool completely before slicing.
As I mentioned, I love to make this with lemon zest and thyme as the added flavors. It is magical. Let your imagination run and see what other interesting and delicious flavor combinations you can come up with! Be sure to let me know what you do!