Oh my. This recipe is amazing and great for bread-making newbies! I’ve made it so many times that I rarely use the recipe and it is always a hit. The bread is soft, slightly salty, and deliciously aromatic. It is also super versatile. I especially enjoy hearthbread with spaghetti, which just happens to be on the dinner menu tonight. While a simple topping of chopped parsley and minced garlic is my favorite stand-by (and the reason there is always fresh parsley in my house), the savory possibilities are near endless. Artichoke hearts, olives, roasted tomatoes, fresh herbs, your favorite cheese…I’m getting hungry just thinking about it!
This is my first recipe post and while I’m hoping there aren’t any issues, I do hope you’ll let me know if you have any questions or problems! Enjoy!
Hearthbread with Parsley and Garlic
1 ½ cups warm water
1 tsp sugar
1 packet active dry yeast
3½-4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon fine sea salt
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil (plus more for drizzling)
1/3 cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon coarse sea salt
Cornmeal for sprinkling
Mix the warm water, sugar, and yeast in a small bowl to proof until foamy.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, add 3 cups of your flour and 1 tablespoon fine sea salt. Stir to mix. Add your yeast mixture and ¼ cup olive oil. Stir well until combined. Using the dough hook attachment, turn your mixer on to medium-low speed. As the dough comes together, gradually add ½ cup flour, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Knead on medium speed until smooth and elastic. The dough will be soft; if it’s overly sticky, gradually add the remaining ½ cup flour.
Turn the dough out into a large oiled bowl. Turn to coat the dough in oil and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Allow to rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about an hour.
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Sprinkle a baking sheet with cornmeal (I like to use my stoneware pan for this!). Once the dough is risen, turn it out onto your baking sheet and press it into a rounded, rectangular shape. Cover again and allow to rise until puffy, about 20 minutes.
Once the dough is nice and puffy, use your fingers to dimple the surface of the dough. Spread the chopped parsley and garlic on top, drizzle with olive oil until your little dimples are brimming, and then sprinkle with coarse sea salt.
Bake for 15-20 minutes until cooked and lightly golden. Slice and serve!
I have, in the past, successfully substituted up to half of the unbleached all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour.
If you are closely watching your calories, be sure to carefully measure the amount of olive oil you use. If using a scant amount, be sure to use the best extra-virgin olive oil you can find for optimal flavor.
If you have high blood pressure or are otherwise watching your sodium intake, feel free to cut down the amount of salt used. Fresh herbs, spices, freshly ground pepper, garlic and other such salt-free toppers can add loads of flavor without the sodium.