Spicy Garlic Bread

It’s not a secret that I have a love affair with carbs. I can devour bread without even thinking about it. Whip up a tasty batch of fresh rolls for dinner and they’re lucky to make it till then unless I leave the house, chain myself to a wall or maybe a more reasonable solution… make them right before dinner. If there is bread on the counter, I’ll eat it. I have zero restraint.

It’s like cheese. It’s too good to not be enjoyed. This is also probably why I love mixing cheese and bread together. It seems like a perfectly acceptable way to enjoy two crave worthy foods at once.

Even before I had a Dutch oven, I wanted to make no knead (or practically no knead) bread. I remember spotting this bread that simply called out to me. It had almost all of the best ingredients bread should have: fresh garlic, herbs and butter were key. The super special extra… red pepper flakes. This is bread people, not soup or pizza or pasta. Bread! Since when does red pepper flakes go in bread? Oh wait… since now. Because you have to.

I have to admit, I didn’t go completely gaga over this bread. But I did still really like it. I love the spice and spongey interior that is completely different than most other breads I’ve had in the past. I think part of my issue lies in that the bottom got a tad too dark for my liking. I trimmed it off and then the loaf was perfect.  The recipe calls for using a Dutch oven and to fit it in my oven it needs to be near the bottom, which is clearly too close to the heat source. If you have a traditional sized oven, be sure to place your pot in the center of the oven. If you have split ovens, just be aware that you may need to trim a bit after the loaf has cooled.

What surprised me most about this bread, both of my girls loved it. Not just my crazy spicy food loving 2 year old. My 4 year old too! The same girl that sticks her nose up at mashed potatoes, pickles and really just about everything good in life… LOVED this bread. It must be a full moon because they even willingly picked up their toys before lunch, not a single whine! Clearly my children have been replaced with aliens.

If you love a spicy food and a good spongey dense homemade bread… you want this in your life. And if you happen to love bread and cheese as much as I do, I dare you to sprinkle this with Parmesan cheese immediately after it comes out of the oven. I didn’t do it but wish I had.

PS – I hate photographing bread.

Spicy Garlic Bread

Ingredients:

1C warm water
1pkg active dry yeast
pinch of sugar
1/2C butter
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp red pepper flakes, plus additional for sprinkling
3 cloves garlic, minced
4C bread flour
2 tsp salt
5tbsp olive oil, divided
course sea salt for sprinkling

Directions:

Combine warm water, yeast and a pinch of sugar in a medium measuring glass. Let sit for 5-10 minutes. If it doesn't poof up, start over with new yeast.
In a small saucepan, melt butter. Reduce heat to lowest setting, add herbs, seasonings and garlic. Stir and let sit for 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat. Set aside.

Add flour to the bowl of a stand mixer. (Original recipe states to use the dough hook, I used my paddle... it's my first choice for most recipes. Choose whichever you prefer.) Add salt. With mixer on low, pour in yeast and butter mixtures. Mix for approximately 10 minutes or until dough pulls away from the sides of your bowl completely. The dough should not be stuck to the bowl at all. If it is, add a touch more flour and continue to mix.

Form into a smooth ball. Add to a large greased bowl. Cover and let sit in a warm location until doubled in size or roughly 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Coat the bottom of a Dutch oven with 2 tbsp olive oil. Knead dough for 1-2 minutes, then add to your pot. Make 2 large slices in the top of your dough, forming an X. Drizzle with 3 tbsp olive oil, sprinkle with course sea salt and additional red pepper flakes.

Cover and bake for 30 minutes. (**DO NOT place lids with plastic knobs in the oven at this temperature, they will explode. I purchased a stainless knob for my Dutch oven that allows me to put it in at higher temperatures.)

Reduce heat to 400 degrees. Uncover and bake for an additional 15 minutes.

Remove from oven. Let sit for 5-10 minutes before carefully transferring loaf to a cooling rack. Let sit for additional 10-15 minutes before slicing.

Store covered for up to several days.

Adapted from Joy The Baker