Friday, September 25, 2015

Garlic and Parsley Hearthbreads

"September 2015 IHCC Potluck", the theme for this week at I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC). For our potluck week, I've made Nigella's garlicky flatbread.

I've been wanting to make this flatbread for quite sometime. With garlic and parsley, it already sounds so aromatic. According to Nigella, "These are something between garlic naan and herby focaccia". Yes, it is similar to a focaccia and can't help thinking how close it is to a fougasse too, when I took a crispy bite of it! Crispy crust with chewy texture on the inside.

Oops...ignore the pinch-off corners of the bread! The photos before this, are not clear, so I've got to clean the lens of the camera and took the photo again, but that corner was torn off by then, (for quality control purposes!! hahaha!).

The dough is mixed and left to proof before it's punched down, separate into two halves and shape each half into squares or oval, flattened and leave to proof until puffy. Make some dimples on the puffy breads with your fingers, and spread the garlicky parsley mixture over it. Bake till golden and crispy. I have reduced the amount of salt slightly to 3/4 tablespoon and the next time, I will reduce just a little bit more. I have used only 1 cup of water, and still find that the dough is sticky, so I have added about 1/4 cup of bread flour. The type of flour and our humidity weather do make a difference when mixing a dough for bread making, so adjust accordingly.

For the garlic and parsley mixture, firstly the garlic is baked for about 45 minutes, enclosed in a parcel of foil. Leave until cool enough to handle. Parsley leaves are chopped in the food processor, then the garlic is squeezed out of their skins into the food processor and process again. Pour in some oil, while processing to a paste. I "overdo" it for both the garlic and the parsley. I added extra garlic heads and used a large bunch of parsley. The paste does not look anywhere like Nigella's, but I am not complaining, it tasted good! I added some salt and coarse black pepper to the paste too. (I omitted the sprinkle of salt during serving).

These hearthbreads are yummy! Especially so when fresh out of the oven. I've baked them a little longer than the recipe stated, because I love crispy crust. With the crispy crust and chewy bread texture on the inside, this reminded me of eating a fougasse! And even though the garlicky-parsley paste did not look at all like Nigellas, it is delicious! And I'm glad I've added some coarse black pepper, yummy! 

I did not sprinkle any salt or drizzle any oil over it. The paste is oily enough and the bread itself is salty enough. Good enough to eat it as it is. I had this with a mug of hot tea, it was good!

Garlic and Parsley Hearthbreads
(adapted from "How To Be A Domestic Goddess", Nigella Lawson)
3-1/2 cups white bread flour (additional 1/4 cup)
1 package (1/4 ounce) rapid-rise yeast or 1 tablespoon fresh yeast (2 teaspoons instant yeast)
1 tablespoon salt (use about 3/4 tablespoon, and will reduce slightly more the next time)
1-1/3 - 1-2/3 cups warm water (1 cup)
5 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for greasing and for pouring over the garlic
3 large or 4 small heads of garlic
extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling
bunch of flat-leaf parsley
1/4 tsp coarse black pepper (my addition)
salt for sprinkling

2 baking sheets

Preheat the oven to 375F.
Combine the flour, yeast, and salt in a bowl. Pour 1-1/3 cups warm water into a measuring cup and stir in the olive oil. Mix the liquid with the dry ingredients to make a soft but firm dough, adding more liquid as needed, and either turn this out onto a surface and knead by hand or keep in the bowl and use a mixer fitted with the dough hook and knead until smooth, supple, and full of elastic life. Form into a ball, wash out and dry the bowl, oil it, and turn the dough in it so it's lightly oiled all over. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave to rise for an hour or so until doubled in size.

While the bread is rising, trim the tops off the heads of the garlic, making sure they remain whole, sit them in some torn-off squares of foil, dribble over some oil, and wrap them loosely. That's to say, the package should be baggy but the foil tightly sealed at the edges. Cook the garlic packages for 45 minutes; they should not be mushy by this stage but still just holding their shape. Remove from the oven, unwrap, and let cool till you can handle them. Turn the oven up to 400F.

Tear the parsley leaves from their stems and add a good handful to the bowl of the food processor - not worrying if some stems here and there are left on - and chop. Squeeze the soft garlic cloves out of their skins and into the bowl and process again. Pour in enough extra-virgin oil to make a runny paste down the funnel, while still processing, and leave this pungent emulsion where it is while you get back to the bread.

When the dough's risen, punch it down and leave to rest for 10 minutes. Divide the dough in half, and get out 2 sheets of baking parchment. Sit a ball of dough on each, and roll out to form a curved rectangle or bulky oval. Then, using your hands, press out a little more. Transfer the breads on their papers to the baking sheets, cover with tea towels and leave to rise and get puffy for about 25 minutes.

Poke your fingers all over the tops of the breads to dimple them, then go back to the processor and pulse once or twice to make sure the parsley, garlic, and oil are combined and pour this green mixture all over the corrugated flatbreads.

Put the baking sheets into the oven and bake for 20 minutes or until the breads are cooked - becoming golden in parts, with the garlic flecks a darker brown, and the rims puffing up around the oily topping. Whip out of the oven and drizzle over a generous amount of good extra-virgin olive oil. Sprinkle over some salt and set down on the table for people to tear greedily at with their bare hands.
Serves 4 generously.

I'm linking this post with I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC), theme for this week 
September 2015 IHCC Potluck


  1. Fantastic! I love that garlic herb topping!

  2. yumm ..... looks so delicious! love pesto and spread on home made bread yummmm....

  3. Joyce, the color of the filling may not be attractive but I know it has to be good because there's parsley and garlic in it! I also love my bread crispy and I would have it slightly overbaked too.

  4. Can't really go wrong with the extra garlic with this wonderful bread. Nice crumb shot!

  5. There is absolutely nothing better than a good chewy bread with lots of good garlic and pepper.

  6. Oh yes...I love my crust nice and crispy too! Looks like a wonderful texture to the bread and definitely packed with loads of flavor. Would be perfect for dunking in my tomato soup:)

  7. Hi Joyce,
    I love your garlicky flat bread and i know this will be so good with a cup of hot tea.
    i am in KL now, how i wish i can have a piece from you :D

  8. Oh they do look yummy, Joyce! Something I must try. I can certainly understand how that corner got picked off :)