This bread probably doesn't look like much: it's just a dough that you shape into a ball and bake in a Dutch oven. It can't possibly convey the incredible flavor within the crispy crust, full of spices and herbs, or the ease of pulling everything together in just a few dishes and steps. It was the perfect compliment to a lentil soup JP and I enjoyed a couple of weeks ago, with lots of hearty chives and thyme, and a hint of heat from chili flakes. Definitely enjoy this gem before the weather gets too toasty, though, because it is best when served warm.
Easy Spicy Garlic Bread from Joy the Baker
1 c. warm water (between 110 and 115 degrees F)
2 1/4 tsp. active dry yeast
pinch of granulated sugar
4 oz. unsalted butter, melted
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh thyme
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh chives
3/4 tsp. dried red chili flakes (I used some cayenne pepper in its place, as the flakes didn't make the move with us!)
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced
about 4 cups bread flour, plus more for dusting the work surface
a few big pinches of coarse ground black pepper
2 tsp. salt
olive oil, coarse sea salt, and chili flakes for topping
1. Sprinkle yeast over warm water, add pinch of sugar and stir gently. Allow yeast and warm water to rest, foam and froth for about 5 minutes. If yeast does not foam and froth after 5 minutes, toss it and start over again with new yeast.
2. Add spices and herbs to melted butter in a small bowl and set aside.
3. Place flour in the bowl of an electric stand mixer, fitted with a bread hook. Add salt and pepper. Pour in activated yeast mixture, and butter mixture. Stir on low speed, with the dough hook, for
about 10 to 12 minutes. The dough ball should clean the sides of the bowl and not stick to the bottom of the mixing bowl. The dough will be relatively smooth and supple, with some firmness from the bread flour.
4. Place dough in a large greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rest in a warm place until double in size, about 1 hour.
5. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
6. When doubled in size, place on a lightly floured surface and knead by hand for about 2 minutes.
7. In a large Dutch oven, add about 2 tablespoons olive oil, to coat the bottom of the pot. Place dough in pot and use a large knife to slice a fairly deep cross into the dough. Drizzle about 3 more tablespoons of olive oil atop the bread. Sprinkle generously with coarse sea salt and pepper flakes.
8. Cover with tight fitting lid and bake for 30 minutes. Reduce oven heat to 400 degrees F, remove lid, and allow to make for about 15-20 minutes more.
9. Remove from oven and allow to cool until easily removed from the pan. Bread will last, well wrapped at room temperature, for up to 3 days.