Welcome to our March Bakealong challenge. Each month, we’ll announce a new recipe for you to try, along with helpful tips and step-by-step instructions here on our blog. We invite you to bake, then share a photo of your creation, tagging it #bakealong. Enjoy!
Who doesn’t like garlic bread, right? Buttery and blissfully delicious; soft (but with a crusty edge), it’s a family-and-friends favorite. Now add your favorite herbs; turn the usual flat loaf into luscious slices of pull-apart bread; and start the party! Our March challenge, Butterflake Herb Loaf Bakealong, is a new path to garlic bread nirvana.
And the best part?This Butterflake Herb Loaf looks complicated — but it's really easy! Join the latest #bakealong. Click To Tweet
You can also choose to take the dough and shape it into interesting rolls (think fan tan and cloverleaf), or even a classic monkey bread. However you handle it, the dough is easy to work with; the filling comes together quickly, and assembly is simple.
Ready to take the Bakealong challenge?
Start with the dough
Gather the following ingredients:
1 cup milk
1/4 cup butter, cut into pats
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons instant yeast or active dry yeast
4 to 4 1/4 cups (17 to 18 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
2 tablespoons potato flour or 1/3 cup instant potato flakes, optional, for increased moistness
Combine the milk, butter, sugar, and salt in a microwave-safe measuring cup or bowl; or in a saucepan. Heat, stirring, until the butter melts. Let the mixture cool to lukewarm, no warmer than 110°F if you have a thermometer. If you don’t have a thermometer, the liquid should be cool enough that you can hold your finger in it comfortably.
Transfer the milk mixture to a mixing bowl, and add the eggs, yeast, 4 cups of the flour, and the potato flour and mix to form a shaggy dough.
Knead until smooth
Use your hands, a stand mixer, or your bread machine set on the dough cycle to knead the dough until it’s smooth. The dough will remain somewhat sticky, but should definitely form a ball. During the summer, or in a warm/humid climate, you’ll probably find that you need to add the remaining 1/4 cup flour.
Let the dough rise
Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover, and let it rise for about 90 minutes, until it’s puffy though not necessarily doubled in bulk.
Make the filling
While the dough is rising, place the following filling ingredients* in a bowl.
8 tablespoons (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon grated onion or chopped chives
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds or chopped fennel seed
1/2 teaspoon dried basil, crushed
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, to taste
*Alter the filling to taste by substituting your favorite dried or fresh herbs for those listed above.
Mix everything together, and set aside.
Assemble the loaves
After the dough has risen, deflate it and divide it in half. Working with one piece at a time, place the dough on a lightly greased or lightly floured surface (your preference), and roll/pat it into a 12″ circle (or square) about 1/4″ thick.
Cut 3 1/2″ to 4″ circles with a cutter, large canning jar lid, or English muffin ring; you should have about 10 circles.
Spread about 1 teaspoon filling on each of the circles, covering half the circle.
Fold the circles in half.
Place all 10 folded circles, folded side down, in a lightly greased 8 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ loaf pan.
Shape any scraps into small rolls; or butter them, and pile them into the wells of a standard muffin pan. They won’t look pretty, but they’ll taste just fine. Let them rise and bake along with the bread, baking them for about 15 minutes, or until golden brown.
Cover the pan(s) with greased plastic wrap and let the dough rise until you can see that it’s expanded slightly; this can take up to 90 minutes, depending on the warmth (or lack thereof) of your kitchen.
Toward the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350°F.
Bake the loaves
Uncover the loaves, and bake them for 25 to 30 minutes. Bread baked in a ceramic pan will take 5 to 7 minutes longer to bake than in a metal one. Tent the loaves with foil if they look like they’re browning too quickly.
Remove the bread from the oven. Brush it with additional melted butter, if desired.
Serve the bread warm
Turn the bread out of the pan, and serve it warm, pulling off individual pieces.
Store any leftovers, well wrapped, at room temperature for several days; freeze for longer storage.
Did I hear leftovers? Probably not!
Now, this recipe makes two loaves; but if you’d like to make one loaf and a batch of rolls, go for it!
Bakealong variation #1: Fan tans
Let’s make some old-fashioned fan tans, to start.
Roll half the dough into a rectangle about 1/4″ thick; spread it with half the filling.
Cut the dough into 1 1/2″ to 2″ squares. Don’t fuss; they don’t have to be exactly square, nor do they have to be precisely that size. Your goal is 48 pieces of dough, but again, no worries if you’re a bit short or somewhat over.
Stack four squares, and place them on end in the lightly greased well of a standard muffin pan. Repeat with the remaining squares, filling the pan.
Let the fan tans rise, covered, until they’ve expanded a bit. Again, the expansion won’t be significant.
Bake the fan tans in a preheated 350°F oven for 18 to 20 minutes, or until they’re a light golden brown.
Remove them from the oven, and serve warm.
Bakealong variation #2: Cloverleaf rolls
Cloverleaf rolls are simple and pretty, too.
Divide half the dough into 36 pieces, each about the size of a small chestnut. Roll the pieces into balls (rough or smooth, up to you).
Place three balls of dough in each lightly greased well of a 12-cup standard muffin pan. Melt half the filling, and drizzle it over the dough balls.
Let the rolls rise until they’ve expanded a bit, covering the bottom of the pan completely and starting to rise upward.
Bake the cloverleaf rolls in a preheated 350°F oven for 18 to 20 minutes, or until they’re a light golden brown.
Bakealong variation #3: Monkey bread
And finally, here’s a quick and easy way to make monkey bread. Divide half the dough into 24 balls. Melt half the filling, and pour it into the bottom of a lightly greased 9″ round cake pan, reserving about 2 tablespoons of the filling to brush on the bread after it comes out of the oven.
Place the dough balls in the pan, and shake the pan to coat them with the melted filling. Then space them in the pan so they’re not touching one another.
Let the dough balls rise until they’ve expanded to touch one another, and have risen upward a bit.
Bake the monkey bread in a preheated 350°F oven for 20 to 23 minutes, or until it’s a light golden brown.
Remove from the oven, and brush with the remaining melted filling. Serve warm. Dip individual pieces in marinara sauce, if desired.
Bakealong variation #4: Going gluten-free
Now, what about you folks baking gluten-free? It’s not advisable to try to turn a standard yeast recipe into a gluten-free recipe, so you won’t be able to use the dough recipe above. However, we have a suggestion: Make the dough for our Gluten-Free Cinnamon Rolls, omitting 2 tablespoons of the sugar, the vanilla, and the sweet dough flavor.
Make the filling from the Butterflake Herb Loaf recipe above. Pat out the gluten-free dough as directed in the cinnamon roll recipe. Melt the filling, and spread half of it over the dough (reserve the rest for later). Add a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese too, if desired. Roll the dough up the long way, and cut into 12 slices. Bake according to cinnamon roll instructions. Remove the baked rolls from the oven, and dip the top of each into the remaining melted butter/herbs.
Voilà! A dozen buttery, garlicky gluten-free rolls.
We hope you’ll enjoy this delicious bread. Once you’ve completed the Butterflake Herb Loaf Bakealong challenge, remember to post a picture using the hashtag #bakealong. And be sure to check back on April 2 for our next challenge: a breakfast/coffee bread that’s every bit as delicious as it is striking. Warning: Chocolate is involved!