Makes 2 large loaves or 24 rolls.
Adapted from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison
For the Bread
- 1 head garlic
- 1 tsp olive oil
- ¼ cup warm water
- 2 ¼ tsp (1 envelope) active dry yeast
- ½ tsp granulated sugar
- 1 ½ cups hot tap water
- 1 ½ cups buttermilk (can substitute 1 cup yogurt + ½ cup milk)
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
- 2 tsp kosher or sea salt
- 1 cup mashed potatoes
- 1 generous tbsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 generous tbsp finely chopped fresh sage
- 7 cups all purpose flour, plus more for kneading
- 1 egg yolk for glazing
- Coarse sea salt
- Chopped rosemary
- Sage leaves
- Very thinly sliced potatoes
- Sesame or poppy seeds
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the top off the garlic so that the cloves are exposed. Drizzle with olive oil and wrap in tin foil or parchment paper. Roast 45 minutes to 1 hour until very soft and caramelized. Remove, cool, and set aside.
Combine the warm water, yeast, and sugar in a small bowl. Allow to bloom for 10 minutes – they yeast should foam up; this is how you know it is alive!
Meanwhile, prepare your pans for baking. This recipe makes either 2 loaves or 24 rolls. I opted for 1 loaf and 12 rolls. For loaves, butter two 8×4 inch tins; for rolls, butter 2 sheet pans and line with parchment paper. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl or mixer, combine the hot water, buttermilk, butter, salt, mashed potatoes, and herbs. Squeeze the roasted garlic into the bowl, add the yeast mixture, and stir to combine. Add the flour, 1 cup at a time, and mix until you have a sticky dough.
Turn the dough out onto a well floured surface and kneed 10 minutes until springy and elastic – continue flouring your hands and your counter as you work to avoid sticking. I find this dough takes quite a lot of extra flour. Shape into a round.
Place the kneaded dough in a large oiled bowl and turn it to cover in oil. Cover with a clean dish cloth and set aside in a warm place to rise – about 1 hour 15 minutes or until doubled in size.
Once risen, punch the dough down, and dump it out on a well floured surface. Dive the dough in half. For bread, shape each half into a log and place each in the prepared pans. For rolls, divide the dough into 12 even pieces – about 3oz each. Roll each piece into a round and place on the prepared sheet pans – 3 across and 4 down.
Cover the shaped bread and/or rolls with a clean dish towel and set aside to rise 45 minutes or until doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Whisk the egg yolk with a ½ tbsp cold water and a pinch of salt in a small bowl. Carefully brush the tops of the loaves and/or rolls with the egg wash. Top with whatever garnish you choose and bake until golden brown – 30 minutes for rolls and 45 minutes for bread loaves. Fully cooked bread sounds hollow when tapped.
Remove from the oven, cool slightly, and serve!