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Monday, November 8, 2010

Garlic-Slathered Stretch Bread (a.k.a. "Pizza Dippers")

Hello. This looks good, right? And it smells and tastes even better.

I've got this cookbook, A Passion for Baking by Marcy Goldman. Amazing book. The pictures are mouthwatering. The recipes are creative, well written and a balance between classic and unusual ideas. The whole thing should be a home run. But instead it seems to be luck-of-the-draw. I have made nineteen recipes to date from it - 6 were AMAZING, 5 were DISAPPOINTING and 8 were only SO-SO (usually tasting fine but not really being worth the effort or work required, which is often A LOT.) Despite the stats, I keep going back to it because it just calls to me. You've got to see this book. It's really one of my favorites.

So. I recently re-went-through it and made a note of the thirty-something (love that show!) recipes I want to try, and I started with this one. I knew it would be hard to be disappointed by bread slathered with garlic. I thought I'd make it as a dinner side to go with spaghetti and salad. But when it filled the house with Italian garlicky aromas, I thought, forget the spaghetti. We sliced it, served it with bowls of marinara, and called it "Pizza Dippers." Voila, dinner is done!
Did I mention these were so so so so so good? So good! And don't be put off by the mayonnaise. I hate the stuff, but it's just an agent for the so-much garlic, and you can't taste it. Just saying.

Garlic-Slathered Stretch Bread
(whole recipe takes about 4 1/2 to 5 hours)
2 cups warm water (100-110 degrees F)
1 3/4 tsp rapid-rise yeast
1 3/4 tsp salt
4 tsp sugar
4 cups bread flour

Garlic Slather:
6 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup mayonnaise
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp dried Italian seasoning (I at least doubled this)
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

1. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and drizzle with olive oil.

2. In a mixer bowl, hand-whisk water and yeast together and let stand 2 to 3 minutes to dissolve yeast. Briskly whisk in salt, sugar, and most of the flour to make a soft dough. Knead with dough hook on lowest speed 5 to 8 minutes, adding more flour as necessary until dough is resilient but not tough. *Remove dough hook and spray dough with nonstick cooking spray. Cover entire mixing bowl with a large clear plastic bag.* (I don't like this technique but Goldman swears by it. Instead, I put dough in a sprayed bowl, cover loosely with lid and dish towel, and place in cold oven to avoid drafts.)

3. Let dough rise until doubled in size, 1 1/2 to 3 hours (I cut the time in half and did 2 1/4 hours.)

4. Turn dough out onto a floured work surface; gently deflate. Cover dough loosely with plastic wrap and let rise. Meanwhile make Garlic Slather. Using a mortar and pestle (which I don't have but I used my muddler and it worked great), mash garlic and salt to a fine paste. Remove to a bowl. Fold in mayonnaise, Parmesan cheese, seasoning and oil.

5. Divide dough in half. Stretch each to a long oval, about 18 x 6 inches. Place on prepared baking sheet, evenly spacing apart. Using back of a spoon, spread filling all over top of each bread. Top each with mozzarella cheese. Cover pan loosely with plastic wrap and let dough rise 1 to 1 1/2 hours until puffy.

6. Preheat oven to 400. Bake until nicely golden on top and topping is sizzling, about 20 to 25 minutes. Allow to cool at least slightly, then cut into strips with a pizza cutter. Serve with warm marinara sauce, if desired.
Recipe from A Passion for Baking by Marcy Goldman

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