After having baked (and eaten a lot of)  roasted garlic on thin crust sourdough pizza  last weekend, Sue had left with me those creamy morsels which bathed in glossy olive oil as well as some tasty soft Asiago cheese.   I already made another –always thin crust– pizza, three days later, using some of the roasted garlic and have enjoyed savoring the cheese slices here and there, but I wanted something different.  Then I remember  that Della Fattoria‘s roasted garlic loaf whose awesome picture I have only glanced at oh about dozen times or so every time I flipped through the pages of  Artisan Baking Across America. So I went take another the look at it and this time read its description out loud, which says “a round of sourdough bread seasoned with a sprinkling of whole wheat surrounds a layer of grated cheese and roasted garlic purée”.   Wow, this bread not only is sourdough but features two savoring ingredients that I have readily therefore roasted garlic bread is the bread I shall bake this week.

The recipe says it takes at least 30 hours but only about 45 minutes of hand-on work; although it is listed as “advanced” it’s not difficult at all from start to finish.  The dough is a straight-forward sourdough; it is very soft but easy to handle and quite pleasant to the touch.

Della Fattoria’s Rustic Roasted Garlic Bread

Yield tw0 500-gram loaves

The Levain

Ingredient Weight Bakers Percentage
Fermented firm sourdough
starter, refreshed 8 hours
18 g 30%
Water, lukewarm 35 g 58%
Unbleached bread flour 30 g 50%
Whole Wheat Flour 30 g 50%
Total weight: 113 gram

The Dough

Ingredient Weight Bakers Percentage
Unbleached Bread Flour 500 g 100%
Water, warm 390 g 78% (hydration)
Salt 15 g 3%
Fermented levain 113 g 23%
Total weight:  1018 grams


Roasted Garlic purée 3 Tablespoons
Dry Jack or Asiago cheese, grated 60 g
Garlic cloves, unpeeled 2
Beautiful sprigs flat-leaf parsley/cilantro/celery 6 to 8


I mix the dough in the evening so I can put it into the refrigerator over night.  First I dissolve the levain with the water.  Then I mix in the flour.  I use a bread maker to mix the dough until the dough is very silky and the gluten is well-developed, about 30 minutes.  Then I add in the salt and mix until the dough cleans the bowl, about 5 minutes more. The dough is very soft and sticky.  I place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover it with a quick Saran wrap, and put the bowl on the fireplace mantel where it’s about 75 degrees F.  I turn the dough 4 times at 30-minute intervals, that is, after 30, 60, and 90, 120 minutes of fermenting on a lightly floured counter and after that I put it, well covered, in the refrigerator.

The next evening I take the dough out and it has raised a little bit.   I place the bowl in a warm bath to help warm the dough up.  About 1.5 hours later the dough has raised almost double.  I flour the dough and turn it out on a lightly floured counter, cut it in half, lightly round the pieces and cover loosely with plastic wrap.  I let them rest for 20 minutes.

In the mean time I pick out a few nice prigs of celery leaves (that’s what I have; you can use cilantro or Italian f lat-leaf parsley), chop up the cheese, mash the roasted garlic into a purée and season it with freshly cracked pepper and a pinch of salt.  I divide the purée and cheese into 2 equal portions.   I also prepare 2 linen-lined proofing basket dusting with flour.

I place one of the dough rounds skin side down, flatten it a little  and keep the middle very thick.  I smear the garlic purée in the center of the dough, then sprinkle the cheese, and pull the dough up around to form a pleated pouch.  I turn the dough over and round it tightly but gently keeping the filling in the center.

I use the tip of a sharp knife to make a small cut in the center of the top of the dough and twist 1 garlic clove into the cut about 1/3 of the way into the dough.  I arrange 4 or 5 celery leaves around the garlic (forget to wet the leaves) and pat them down.  I repeat the same thing with the other dough round.

Then I sift some flour over the shaped breads to cover the decorations ; it provides protection to the herbs from the oven heat.

I place the loaves, decorated side down, in the prepared baskets.   The basket are covered with a tea towel and placed on the fireplace mantel  (when the fireplace is not in use I proof loaves in warm oven with the light on).  I let these two loaves proof for almost four hours.  They are airy and quite expanded when I turn them out on parchment.

I pre-heat the oven with baking tiles, an hour before the loaves are fully proofed, to 475 degrees F.

I slash the top of each loaf by cutting semi-circles about an inch from the loaf’s perimeter.

I slide the loaves on parchment on the hot baking tiles, turn the oven down to 425 degrees F and bake with steam for the  first 12 minutes.  After that I remove the parchment, rotate the loaves 180 degrees, continue the bake without steam for another 35 minutes or until the loaves turn dark brown .   I turn the oven off, open the  door ajar and leave the loaves in for another 5-10  minutes.  I remove the loaves from the oven and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.

As of this writing the breads are being baked in the oven.  I can smell the celery aroma (but not the garlic?) which fills the kitchen.

And here they are, the loaves have good oven spring and the crust color is so beautiful:

Have to wait ’til tomorrow to cut the breads so no picture of the crumb yet Cut the bread, we got crumb [shot]:

roasted garlic sourdough crumb

crumb of loaf I

crumb of loaf II

; but here is a close-up of the crust and grigne.

I am pleased to be part of this week’s Yeast Spotting, as well.  Head over there to check out the other delicious yeasted treats!

Update: the bread is delicious toasted:  creamy, just a tad cheesy, garlicky,  warm, tangy, chewy, crunchy, all in one bite.