Simple and straight forward, there’s nothing to be scared of homemade bread
It’s been a while since I made this soft garlic bread, I think it’s about time I revisit it again. Garlic bread is one of my favorite bread to pair with pasta or stew, although a lot of times I toast it and just have it on its own. That’s the beauty of this bread, you don’t need to fancy it up with stuffing to actually enjoy it on its own. This garlic bread is soft and light and very simple to make, just the basic ingredients and easy steps to follow. I know that bread making could sometimes be scary and the use of yeast could also be intimidating. If you read through the steps, you would see that it is not the case, it’s really easy and simple. It may need some arm exercise if you don’t have a stand mixer or bread maker to make the kneading faster, but it still doable. Besides, what is a few arm exercise if you are getting this garlic bread freshly bake at your home?
It’s small batch, but can be easily doubled to make a larger batch
Aside from being simple, this is also small batch so get to enjoy it while it’s still fresh. But that doesn’t mean you can make it for a larger group, this recipe is safe to be double and I’ve tried it couple of times when I served it for a bigger group dinner. So don’t run away just because it says small batch. I like making small batch recipes because I normally don’t have large group of people to consume what I am cooking or baking. Also, when it comes to bread I prefer having it freshly baked rather than freezing it and thawing it. Since homemade bread doesn’t have preservatives, it has a shorter shelf like than store-bought. This bread still taste good after 3-4 days at room temperature, but since its small batch it doesn’t really last that long in my house. Let me show you how I made it. Let’s get started!
- 1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp lukewarm water (110F) – ( If you do not have thermometer, get hot tap water and microwave it for 15 seconds).
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp active dry yeast
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp milk (Almond milk will also work) lukewarm (110F) – If you do not have a thermometer, microwave the milk for 15 seconds or 20 seconds if coming from the fridge
- 1 1/4 cup bread flour + 1/4 cup flour ONLY as needed – Using bread flour makes a lot of difference because it is high in gluten. The texture will be different when you use all-purpose flour, although it will still be good.
- 1/2 tsp salt
For the glaze:
- 1 clove garlic
- 2 tbsp melted butter
- 2 tsp Italian Seasoning (or any herbs you have like Basil, Oregano, Thyme, Rosemary will work too. Mix them together.)
Note: If you do not have a stand mixer, manually mix the dough in a large bowl until it starts to come together and form into a ball. Transfer it to lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 – 10 minutes. It might take a little bit longer but it is doable.
- Activate the yeast: In the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large bowl if you are doing it manually) fitted with the hook attachment, add water and sugar then manually stir until sugar slowly dissolve. Add the yeast and let stand for 10 minutes until it starts to foam.
- Add wet ingredients: Add the olive oil and milk to the water and yeast mixture then stir.
- Add dry ingredients: Add salt and 1 1/4 cup of flour. Using the stand mixer, in low-speed (speed 2) mix until ingredients have formed a smooth dough (around 8 minutes). If the dough is too sticky to form into a ball, add 1 tbsp of flour at a time until it is no longer sticky. Do not add more than 1/4 cup.
- If doing manually, mix (use the handle of spatula or any sturdy object) until combined then transfer into a floured surface and manually knead the dough until it forms into a ball and no longer sticky.
- Let rise: Transfer to a large oiled bowl (I used olive oil spray to do this), cover with a warm, damp towel and let rise for 1 hour. (It’s best to let the dough rise in a warmer area of your kitchen).
- Tip to help the dough rise better: To help the dough rise well, I put it inside the oven which I pre-heated to 110F. Once it reached the 110F, I stopped/cancel it. DO NOT forget to stop it, you only want the oven to warm up for the dough to rise, you do not want to dough to be baked. Some oven has a proofing setting, mine doesn’t, so this is my trick.
- Divide the dough: Transfer dough to floured surface and knead just to knockout the air inside, then divide into 6 portions or more if you want a smaller thinner bread sticks. I used kitchen scale to do this, you can also do it manually and just estimate. You can adjust the portion and make it smaller or bigger as desired.
- Shape the dough: Roll the dough lengthwise like a hot dog buns, about 4-6 inch, or to any size you prefer.
- Brush with garlic butter: Arrange in a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or silicone mat. Brush the top with the garlic and herbs glaze. If you don’t like any herbs, you can omit it.
- Let rise second time: Let the dough rise for another 20 more minutes (again, using the trick in step 4) until it puffs slightly.
- Bake: Pre-heat the oven to 350F and bake it for 17 minutes or until top starts to brown.
- Cool: Transfer garlic bread to a cooling rack to cool.
- Glaze: Brush with remaining garlic and butter glaze before serving.
For the Garlic Glaze:
- Chop garlic into small pieces and transfer it into a small microwaveable bowl. Add herbs of your choice then microwave for about 30 seconds or until butter is melted. Do not microwave into a long straight time. Do it gradually and return in the microwave as needed to melt the butter. You can also do this on a stove top if you don’t want to use microwave.
Good to know:
- You can substitute bread flour with all-purpose flour, although there will be a difference in texture but it will still taste great. Bread flour has more protein which helps gluten development which gives the chewy and dense texture in bread.
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