I’ve been on a serious bread baking kick.
What makes this recipe great is all you need is time – Letting the dough rise slowly and undisturbed overnight creates a beautiful crumb structure. Baking the dough in a Dutch oven results in a shatteringly crisp crust with a moist interior and is well worth the effort. The yogurt may sound like an odd addition here but it will create a subtle ‘sourdough-like’ flavor.
A with a hit of oven roasted garlic and thyme – things just got a whole lot more interesting!
Thyme and Roasted Garlic Country Loaf
- 1 fat head of garlic, top lobbed off, wrapped in foil and roasted at 375°F for about an hour
- 3 cups bread flour
- 1/4 tsp instant yeast
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 cup water, room temperature
- 2 Tbsp natural yogurt or buttermilk
- 1 1/2 Tbsp minced fresh thyme
In a large bowl, mix the flour, yeast and salt to combine. Free the garlic from the peels and add to the flour along with the fresh herbs, if using. In a separate bowl, mix the water and yogurt and add to the flour mixture. Mix the dough until it just comes together. Scrape down the bowl with a rubber spatula, cover with plastic and allow the dough to rest for about 18 hours at room temperature in a draft-free spot (I use my microwave). The dough should double in size in this time.
Prepare a piece of parchment paper, dusted with flour, cornmeal or wheat bran. Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface and fold it over itself 3-4 times giving a quarter turn each time. Shape the dough into a ball and transfer to the parchment paper. Set the parchment paper into a shallow pasta or soup bowl to preserve it’s shape. Sprinkle liberally with more flour to prevent sticking. Cover loosely with plastic and allow the dough to rest for 2 hours.
30 minutes before baking, place a large dutch oven into your oven and preheat your oven to 450°F. Once dough has risen for 2 hours, mist the dough with water using a spray bottle, and sprinkle with sea salt. Remove the pot from the oven and transfer the dough along with the parchment paper directly into the pot. Cover with lid and return to the oven. Bake for 30 minutes, remove the lid and bake for another 15-25 minutes or until very deeply browned.
Cool completely on wire rack before slicing.