Garlic Bread

I couldn’t wait to try that really beautiful way of decorating a loaf of bread. Dr. Science likes the idea of garlic bread, and it’s going to be a week before the sourdough culture is a sourdough starter, so last night I put together a pre-ferment and a soaker for pain meunier, and this morning I made a couple of 1-lb loaves.

After I divided the dough into two pieces and let them rest, I patted one piece out into a circle, spread the garlic paste on that, and then formed the boule. The other piece I patted out into a rectangle, spread the garlic paste on it, and then rolled it into a kind-of batard. Then I decorated both with parsley leaves, more or less the way Susan did. Susan used a clove of garlic on hers, but I only have white garlic, and hers is red, which is very pretty. I thought about coloring a clove with beet powder or something, but then I realized a grape tomato would probably work. I cut out the stem end and squeezed out the seeds and liquid, then I stuck that in the middle of the round loaf with the cut part up, because I thought that would give the best flower effect, and it worked:

Two decorated loaves of garlic bread

Two decorated loaves of garlic bread

I proofed these upside down and then dusted them with white rice flour, which I know doesn’t burn. The flour keeps the decorations from burning. I baked them at 350℉ for 35 minutes, but I think they could’ve used another 5 minutes. The bread is good, though—nice and garlicky but not overwhelming.

The light has gone on, and I realize now that probably any herb will work for this kind of decoration. This weekend is going to be warm and sunny and a good time to get some herbs planted in some window boxes on the porch.

Meanwhile, this morning’s culture looked good but smelled somewhat disgusting:

Sourdough culture after the first 12-hour rise

Sourdough culture after the first 12-hour rise

Reference
Pain meunier. In Michel Suas, Advanced Bread and Pastry. Clifton Park, N.Y.: Delmar Cengage Learning, 2009, pp 254-255.

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