Sunday, January 29, 2012

Roasted Garlic Levain: Mellow Bakers (January)

I finally got around to making the Roasted Garlic Levain from Hamelman's book Bread, this week.  The recipe, which is on page 183 of the book, was on the January list of Mellow Bakers breads to make.  I'd gotten a bit distracted and was having so much fun making cookies from KAF's website and spice bars from The Modern Baker, that time got away from me, and I forgot to get back to bread making.  I was planning some baked mostaccioli for dinner on Wednesday, and I thought this would be the perfect meal to serve the Roasted Garlic Levain with.

First off, I prepared my stiff levain the night before baking, by combining bread flour, water, and ~ 2T of stiff sourdough culture.  My sourdough culture was at 100% hydration, which I thought was correct for a stiff culture, but last night as I was flipping thru the back of Hamelman's book, I discovered that a stiff levain is 60% hydration.  Oops, I guess 100 % was close enough, though.  I will file that in my memory banks for next time.  Stiff = ~60% hydration.

I let my stiff levain build ripen on the counter for 12 hours, while roasting my garlic cloves near the end of that time.  I wanted by garlic cloves to cool off a bit, before mixing up the final dough.   I peeled off the top layer of papery skin from my 4 extra large cloves, cut off the woody end of each clove, drizzled them with olive oil, then baked in my 325° oven for ~ 20 minutes.  I poked them with a knife and it went right into them, so bingo, they were done!

Here are my culture and garlic all ready to get thrown into the final dough.  I mashed up the garlic really good with a fork before adding it in,
Since everone else had shaped their dough as rolls or loaves so far, I decided I'd shape mine as fougasse, since JH said this bread makes excellent fougasse.  Besides, when I asked hubby whether I should shape it as a boule or as fougasse, as he was heading out the door for work, he confidently responded 'fougasse', so fougasse it became.

I always like trying something different, so when I saw shaping directions for a leaf-shaped fougasse in Baking With Julia, I decided to give that a try.  The Leaf-Shaped Fougasse shaping directions are on page 146 of Baking With Julia, and a picture of it is shown on the inside front cover.  It's a little hard to see in the picture of my finished fougasse, but what was new to me in the shaping of this fougasse were the 3 slanted cuts on either side (edge) of the teardrop shape.  I made these with a razor blade, and only cutting into the dough about half the length of the blade.  

I baked my fougasse for 20 minutes at 450°  At first I thought it was too done when I took it out at 20 minutes, and was kicking myself for not checking on it earlier, but when eating it, it tasted just right to us.
This recipe made quite a large fougasse, which just barely fit onto my stone.  

Oh, we were in heaven as we tore into our chunks of sourdough garlic fougasse.  It tasted kind of like pizza dough and the garlic flavor is subtle in this bread, but you can definitely tell it is there!  I had also sprinkled Italian Seasoning into my dough when I was mixing it up to give it even more flavor.  Also, before I slid the fougasse into the oven, and onto the stone, I brushed the dough w/ EVOO and sprinkled on a bit of kosher salt.

We both love the chewy interior and slightly crunchy exterior of fougasse, so I'm sure this garlic bread will be on the menu again in our house.  This one's a keeper!


  1. Love your changes to this one: it sounds like just the thing to go with a nice pan of mostaccioli!

  2. Love the gorgeous golden color. Your shaping is fabulous too!