The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Defeated by garlic

Elsa's picture

Defeated by garlic

Defeated by garlic sums it up.  Actually that is why I joined The Fresh Loaf - looking for advice from those more versed in garlic than myself.

My problem:  Roasted garlic bread that breaks apart as it rises, becoming worse during oven spring.  In the end I have a loaf that looks like a flat, craggy mess.  The tricky thing is that it doesn't always do this, even when all the conditions are the same.  Defeated... yes!

My recipe:  Though I won't be giving the exact recipe, being a bread baker by trade, I will give you a little idea of what I'm working with.  The base recipe is a tried and true one for me - a mixture of unbleached and whole wheat flours, sourdough starter, salt, yeast, and of course water.  I have used the base as is as well as with a variety of added flavorful ingredients.  In all other cases I get beautiful loaves.  It is when I add the roasted garlic (homemade and mashed) that the results turn ugly.

My question:  What is going wrong?  I have an inkling that maybe the garlic is acting as a bully towards the gluten development, but I'm really not sure.  Does garlic interfere with the development of gluten?  If so, what is the max amount that can be added to a loaf (mine is 1-1/2 lbs.)?  Any other ideas about what's going on?

Thank you in advance!

rockfish42's picture

Garlic contains compounds that are anti-fungal and anti-bacterial, depending on a number of factors this might influence the rising and structure of your bread. Most garlic sourdoughs I've seen use larger pieces of garlic, this seems like it would reduce any negative effects due to a surface area decrease.

LindyD's picture

Hamelman's "Bread" includes a recipe for roasted garlic levain as well as a roasted garlic potato bread.

In both recipes he explains how to prepare the garlic and offers no cautions of any negative effect it may have on the bread's structure.  The garlic potato bread uses a pate fermentee and the garlic levain a stiff levain build.

In both breads, the garlic is to be added when all the ingredients are mixed.

The percentage of garlic for the garlic potato bread is three percent based on the overall flour weight.  It's 3.5 percent for the roasted garlic levain - that recipe uses bread flour and whole wheat flour.  The loaves weigh 1.5 pounds.

dolfs's picture

Just the other day I made a roasted garlic, sun dried tomato, basil bread that was (loosely) based on Hamelman's Roasted Garlic Potato bread. I roasted the garlic until it was soft and just mixed the resulting paste in the dough during mixing. I used 1.5 bulbs (?) of garlic for 3lb of dough (two loaves). All worked out fine (and I believe there is no chemical reason to expect otherwise).

Not knowing how you used the garlic, I am going to guess you left it, more or less, whole and "rolled" up the dough around it. Provided you have enough garlic, it will prevent the layers in the roll from sticking together and will cause the problems you describe.

If that is what you did, either reduce the garlic, or make the dough thinner before rolling (less garlic per surface area so it sticks together), or knead the garlic in at the last minute before bulk ferment (gentle need if you wish to preserve chunks, heavier is you want to mix in paste).