Garlic bread might be simple (a shop bought one probably won't impress anyone at a dinner party), but it's a definite crowd pleaser. Whether it's served as a snack, side or starter, a warm garlic baguette always goes down well.
And when it's homemade? Like most things, it will taste even more delicious and yes, friends will be amazed.
Want to give it a try? Kate from The Little Loaf shares her recipe for homemade garlic bread below:
Ingredients: (to make four baguettes. If this is too large a quantity, you could easily freeze two once assembled.)
500g strong white bread flour
7g dried yeast
10g sea salt
1 x 250g pack salted French butter, slightly softened
3 x large cloves of garlic, crushed
Large handful flat leaf parsley, chopped
In a medium bowl, mix together the flour and yeast then add the salt and water. Get your fingers into the bowl and mix until dough starts to come together.
Transfer the dough onto a lightly floured working surface. Continue to mix the ingredients by stretching out the dough and folding it over onto itself. Keep working the dough until it comes cleanly away from the work surface and is not sticky.
Roll the dough into a tight bowl and place in a lightly oiled mixing bowl. Cover with a tea towel and leave to rest for an hour and a half.
Once doubled in size, turn the dough out gently onto a well-floured surface, being careful not to deflate it. Cut into four equal sized pieces – they should weight about 215g each. Flatten each piece with the heel of your hand to form an oval shape, then fold each edge into the centre of the dough to form a tight ball. Leave to rest for a further five minutes.
To mould the baguettes, take the first ball, turn it rounded side down and flatten to a rough oval. Fold one side of the flattened dough into the middle and seal with the heel of your hand. Repeat with the other side of the oval so the two edges meet in the middle, seal, then fold the whole thing in half lengthways and seal the edges so you end up with a long log shape. It won't be quite long enough at this stage, so roll until you get your desired length (ideally the same length as the tray on which you're going to bake it!). Place on a floured tea towel and repeat with the remaining three balls of dough.
Lay the four baguettes on a floured tea towel, making a pleat between each loaf to stop them touching as they rise. Cover with another tea towel and leave to prove for 45 – 60 minutes, or until nearly doubled in volume.
Preheat the oven to 250 degrees C (or as high as it will go). Once risen, slash the tops of the baguettes using a razor or sharp knife. Transfer carefully to your baking stone or preheated tray and bake for 10 – 12 minutes until the crust is lightly golden brown (using a mist spray in the oven will help achieve a lovely crunchy crust. As you'll be baking them again with the garlic butter, I'd err on the side of less golden crust in this instance.
Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely.
To make the garlic butter, mash together the butter, garlic and parsley in a small bowl until completely combined. Place the mixture on a large piece of cling film and roll out into a thin sausage shape. Roll the cling film round your sausage, twist up the ends, and pop in the fridge to firm up. This quantity will make more than you need for the four loaves, but any you don't use can be frozen in small rounds and melted over steak or added to sauces at a later date.
To assemble the garlic bread, tear out four large squares of tin foil, slightly wider and longer than your baguettes.
Using a breadknife, cut slits down the length of each baguette, making sure you don't cut the whole way through. Remove your garlic butter baton from the fridge, cut into thin slices and wedge one slice in between each slit. Place each baguette on a piece of foil and wrap loosely. Bake for 10-15 mins, opening the foil for the last 5 minutes to achieve a lovely golden crust.
Remove from the oven, allow to cool slightly, then serve.
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