Saffron and roasted garlic bread

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Delicately scented but with much depth of flavour, my saffron and roasted garlic bread is a real treat when eaten with good butter and perhaps some cheeses.

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Garlic, saffron and bread: oh my word, THIS is a marriage made well and truly in heaven. If you have never tried bread dipped into a punchy saffron aoili, then you must remedy that…… is seriously wonderful!

Garlic is a must-have ingredient in my kitchen. I really cannot get enough of it, especially when it has been roasted slowly in oil. I tend to roast many bulbs at a time this way and store it in a jar, topped with more oil, ready to use as I need.

This is essentially a standard bread dough into which roasted garlic and saffron gets worked before shaping, proving and baking.

From time to time I add a little chopped chilli into the dough for a bit of a kick, and pieces of cheese in there is wonderful.

Recipe: saffron and roasted garlic bread – makes two loaves

  • 3 bulbs of garlic, separated into cloves, peeled and left whole
  • 70ml olive oil or vegetable oil
  • 2 generous pinches of saffron
  • 2 tablespoons hot water
  • 1 large onion, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 700g strong plain bread flour
  • 7g sachet easy-blend yeast
  • 14g fine sea salt
  • 450ml cool water

(1) Preheat the oven to 120C (fan).

(2) Put the garlic and onions in an oven-proof dish and mix in the oil. Cover with a lid or with foil and place into the oven for about an hour, giving it a stir after about 30 minutes. Leave to cool fully in the oil.

The photos below show the garlic being prepared for a different dish:

(3) Meanwhile lighly crush the saffron and put in a small pot or bowl with the hot water for about 10 minutes.

(4) Pour in the saffron, along with its water, into the garlic mixture and use a fork to roughly crush the garlic and onions. Don’t worry about the oil and water not mixing, it will all blend wonderfully when it gets added to the dough.

(5) Mix the flour, salt and yeast together. Add the saffron and garlic mixture and enough of the cold water mix to form a soft dough.

(6) Knead for 15 minutes or so until the dough is elastic. Cover the bowl with clingfilm or pop into a plastic bag. Leave to prove until doubled in size: I tend to do this in the fridge for a slower rise (and better flavour) but you can pop it into a warm cupboard.

(7) Turn out onto a slightly floured surface and shape as desired, popping the dough into well-floured bannetons, oiled loaf tins or baguette trays…….

For this, I split the dough in half and popped them into oval bannetons.

(8) Cover and prove until doubled in size. While the dough is proving, preheat the oven to 220C(fan).

(9) When the dough has proved, turn out (if they proved into bannetons), dust lightly with flour and use a sharp knife or razor to score the surface: go for a few cuts here and there or something more artistic.

(10) Bake in the oven for about 30-40 minutes, turning the oven down to 200C after 10 minutes. Leave to cool for a few minutes in the tin and then remove carefully to a cooling rack.

Author: Philip

Finalist on Britain’s Best Home Cook (BBC Television 2018). Published recipe writer with a love of growing fruit & veg, cooking, teaching and eating good food.

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