I shunned pizza for so many years. This is because the only “pizza” I was exposed to were those physically, and mentally scarring school dinners (more correctly, lunches) in the UK, during the 80’s. Anyone who ever had school dinners then, knows exactly what I mean. The “pizzas” had a bread-like pastry (yes, I said pastry), which was topped with a sour tasting tomato puree and a little melted cheese. It makes me want to hurl now, just typing about it!
I got over my mental scarring of “pizza” in my teens, when we tried Pappa’s pizzeria in Derby, UK. It was there that I also tried my first flat-bread garlic bread. It was delicious. You could have it with or without cheese, both was yummy! The other garlic bread I was exposed to, was those pre-frozen baguettes… yes, you know the ones I’m talking about. They used to be a rare treat. Now, I wouldn’t touch them with a barge pole!
Many years have passed and I no longer bake pre-frozen garlic bread, but make my own, using my own bread base and own garlic butter. It’s not hard, it’s pretty simple and the results are fantastic.
This is a flat pizza-based garlic bread, topped with a garlic and parsley butter. It’s fantastic with soup, salad or simply as a side dish.
GARLIC FLAT BREAD
Makes 2 x 23 cm (9 inch) round garlic breads
For the Bread Base:
- 150 g (1 c) plain (all-purpose) flour*
- 50 g (⅓ c) wholemeal (whole wheat) flour*
- 1 teaspoon dried active baking yeast
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 150 ml (1 c and 2 T) lukewarm water
For the Garlic Butter:
- 40g (2 ½ T) salted butter, slightly softened
- 25g (½ c) finely chopped parsley leaves
- 1 head garlic
* If you’re not a fan of wholemeal (whole wheat) flour, you can use 100% white.
1. Place all the ingredients for the bread base into the bowl of a stand mixer with dough hook attachment and knead for 8-10 minutes. Alternatively, you can work the dough with your hands.
2. When the dough is ready divide into two equal sized pieces and place each into a greased bowl. Cover and let rise for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until double in size.
3. Meanwhile, cut the head of garlic in half horizontally exposing the cloves. Place into a bowl with 2 tablespoons water and cover with cling film (plastic wrap). Microwave** for 1-2 minutes or until cloves are very soft. Let cool covered.
4. Once the garlic is cool enough to handle, pop the softened cloves out of their skins into a bowl and mash. Mix with butter and parsley. You may need to add a little salt.
5. Preheat a pizza stone on the oven floor (or lowest shelf) to 260 C / 550 F, 30-45 minutes before wanting to cook your garlic bread.
6. Transfer each dough ball onto a floured surface and roll to at least 23 cm (9 inch) in diameter. Spread half of the garlic butter over the base and transfer to the pizza stone. Bake for approximately 4-5 minutes, or until the base cooked with brown spots on the bottom. Repeat. Slice and enjoy!
** You can also place the head of garlic in a foil pouch and roast at 200 C (400 F) for 30-45 minutes.