I Can't Get Enough of This
It was a grey day. I was planning to bake as much as I could in the woodfired oven. I had noticed this loaf on the King Arthur Flour Instagram feed, and I thought I had all the ingredients on hand. So I got out my Fiestaware mixing bowl, stirred the dough up, lightly kneaded it, and put it to rise.
As it rose, I gathered the filling ingredients. Since we love garlic, I made sure to add plenty. I used the fresh basil growing in my herb planter and, since I have a cheese shop, I usually have a good mix of cheeses on hand. For this recipe, I used all Italian cheeses: Parmigiano Reggiano, Provolone and Asiago. I grated them, mixed them up and doubled the amount the recipe called for! Yes, we are cheese lovers here.
Once the dough had puffed up nicely, I rolled it out, using as little flour as I could. On went the toppings. Then, I rolled it up like a log, sealed it and set it on a well greased pan seam side down. I made a cut along the middle, lengthwise, with a scissors, and then curled each side to make a figure eight.
Once more, I set the bread aside, covered, and let it rise. It was time to put it in the oven. By now, it was raining! So I carefully ran between the raindrops with it, and put it in the outdoor oven. And I dodged the raindrops each time I had to check it, turn it and cover it with foil. But the end result was all worth it. The color and flavor of this loaf are wonderful. It did not last long at our house. Make sure you let it cool enough to get the full flavor before you take that first bite, if you can... Yes, this is the good life. Here's the recipe.
Garlic, Cheese and Basil Swirl Bread
3 c. flour
2 t. yeast
1 ¼ t. salt
½ c. warm milk
⅓ c. warm water
3 T. olive oil
2 c. shredded cheese (I use a Parmiginao Reggiano, Provolone and Mozzarella mix.)
4 large cloves garlic, minced
⅓ c. fresh basil, finely chopped
To make the dough:
Combine all of the dough ingredients in a large bowl, then mix and knead to make a smooth, very soft dough. The dough will stick a bit to your hands as you are working it. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover, and let it rise for 45 to 60 minutes, or until it's doubled in size. While it's rising, mix up the filling ingredients.
Turn the dough out onto a very lightly floured surface. Gently roll it into a 22" x 8 1/2" rectangle. Spread with the cheese, garlic, and basil. Starting with one long edge, roll the dough into a log the long way. Pinch the edges to seal. Place the log seam-side down on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet.
Using a pair of kitchen shears, start 1/2" from one end and cut the log lengthwise down the center about 1" deep, to within 1/2" of the other end. Keeping the cut side up, form an "S" shape. Tuck both ends under the center of the "S" to form a figure 8; pinch the ends together to seal. Cover and let rise in a warm place until double, 30 to 45 minutes.
While the loaf is rising, preheat the oven to 350°F. Uncover the bread, and bake it for 35 to 40 minutes, tenting it with foil after 20 to 25 minutes to prevent over-browning. Remove the bread from the oven, and transfer it to a rack to cool.
Warning: we couldn’t keep our hands off of this...