Some people can step into the kitchen and naturally own it. They know where everything is, they have the exact quality and quantity of ingredients needed and even remember to preheat the oven.
I, on the other hand, was googling how to boil water and how to make frozen pizza at the age of 14. I sincerely wish I was exaggerating for storytelling purposes, but you can ask my mom, I was that bad. When I got to college, it turned out boiling water was an essential skill (they left that out of the brochure), and I had an uphill learning curve mastering the art of cooking. After I learned that seasoning goes on chicken and you have to cook WITH oil, I moved onto baking out-of-the-box cakes that I never admitted were out-of-the-box.
Anyway, the reason I’m telling you all of this is that I want you to believe in yourself. You clicked on this article out of curiosity or perhaps ambitious TikTok dreams, and together we’re going to make those dreams come true. I am an expert baker now (definitely not), and with my skills, my purpose here today is to aid your first bread-baking.
What are we making? (And why should I trust you?)
I have planned a very special pull-apart garlic bread loaf for you today. Mostly because it’s the only recipe I’ve tried, thus the only successful one.
To earn your trust, I have attached a picture of said successful bread, and references can be provided upon request.
What will I need?
Unlike most recipes, you won’t have to hunt down a specific breed of onions that only grows on the Slovakian mountains in the winter. This recipe is simple.
For the bread:
- Bread flour. 5-6 cups, although Publix only sells one bag that could feed a K-pop stan group.
- Active dry yeast. 2 teaspoons, conveniently sold in tiny packets above the flour.
- White sugar. Two tablespoons.
- Butter. 2 tablespoons, preferably salted and softened if you’re advanced like that.
- Milk. One cup. Don’t use almond milk. The cows will forgive you eventually.
- Salt. 2 ½ teaspoons.
- Water. One cup. Make it warm. That’s it.
For the topping:
- A bunch of butter. Like 8 tablespoons if you’re not afraid.
- Fresh parsley. As much as you want. You’re an adult, you can decide.
- Fresh oregano. (Or not fresh if you’re lazy.)
- Garlic. 4 cloves, cut as small as you can.
- Salt. 2 teaspoons, they say kosher but does it matter?
How do I start?
We’ll start with “activating” the dough, which amazingly, you can mess up. (I did.)
If you have a mixer, put the warm water in and add the sugar and yeast. If you don’t, just do it in a bowl. Stir, but only a LITTLE, or else you’ll kill the yeast (I’m a wanted suspect).
Let the yeasty, sugary water stand until it starts smelling kind of weird and foaming at the top.
Mix the now-unappealing water with the butter, milk and three cups of flour. Start stirring and add in flour gradually until it looks like attractive dough. You will need to knead it (squish it with your hand in a folding action repeatedly) for about 7-10 minutes. You’ll know it’s ready when it’s slightly sticky but doesn’t stick to the bowl. Your hands will feel gross, but you have to admit the kneading was ASMR worthy.
Are we not done yet?
Almost there! Now for the topping: combine the butter, parsley, and oregano (please wash it) and the poorly cut garlic. You want it to be spreadable but not completely liquid.
Finally, cut the dough into one-inch pieces (I used scissors) and cover it with the topping you made. I suggest leaving some topping to add to the bread after it bakes.
Layer the healthy, totally calorie-free pieces into a greased loaf pan (or whatever pan you have). Cover your masterpiece with a towel — and now some bad news. You have to wait about an hour for the dough to rise. I don’t know who invented proving but they were more patient than anyone I know.
Et voilà ! Tu es devenue boulangère !
Congratulations! Your blind trust in a stranger paid off for probably the only time ever. Enjoy your bread, get ahead and leave before the butter permanently settles in your bloodstream.
P.S. Need to knead it. Classic.