With homemade marinara sauce for dipping. Because I had to make this post extra fabulous. And because this bread had to rise twice so, I figured I'd do something productive while waiting.
Speaking of waiting, that is the hardest part about making this bread. Especially when it's in the oven, and your entire house smells like garlic, and butter, and cheese, and herbs, all melding together. Oh my goodness. Too much to handle.
But other than that, making this bread is a cinch, particularly if you have a KitchenAid stand mixer. I love my KitchenAid. Technically, it's not MY KitchenAid, it's my mom's. But I practically own it, until I move out, at which point I'll probably be getting married and someone will have to buy me one off my wedding registry. I've got it all planned out.
But anyways, back to what I was saying-- my stand mixer makes life so easy whenever I have to make any type of dough. And this dough was no exception. In 6 minutes, it kneaded it to the perfect consistency and then all I had to do was let the yeast work it's magic.
After your dough rises, it's all easy peasy. You just pinch off small balls of dough, dip them in your butter mixture, and then layer them in the bundt pan. I may or may not have made my balls bigger than I was supposed to, and I also may or may not have ignored my mother when she firmly insisted that I make them smaller. Good news is, I don't think anyone cared. Once I finished taking pictures and gave everyone the green light to dig in, all I heard was a chorus of mms and ahhs and yums.
I second those noises. This bread is insanely delicious. It's soft, fluffy, and airy, and just slightly crispy at the edges. Paired with the rich, slightly tangy flavor of the marinara sauce, it's phenomenal.
Since the recipe for the marinara sauce makes quite a bit, I used it to make some spaghetti for dinner and then served the bread we didn't devour on the side-- it was out of this world. If I had an Italian mother-in-law, she would seriously be so proud.
Garlic, Herb, and Parmesan Pull-Apart BreadYield: One bundt loaf
Ingredients:2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 and 1/3 cups lukewarm water
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
3 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
2 cloves garlic, grated
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
For the homemade marinara sauce:
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, grated
One 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
3/4 teaspoon dried basil
1 small bay leaf
Directions:In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, add yeast and water. Stir to combine, then let sit for 5 minutes, until yeast becomes foamy. Add olive oil, salt, and flour, and mix on low speed until everything is combined. Then, increase speed to medium and knead dough for 5-6 minutes, or until elastic. It will be slightly sticky. If you do not have a stand mixer, you can mix the ingredients in a large bowl, then knead the dough by hand on a lightly floured surface until it is elastic, about 7-10 minutes. Transfer dough to a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap (or a kitchen towel), and let rise in a warm place for 1 1/2-2 hours, until doubled in size.
In a small bowl, combine melted butter, thyme, parsley flakes, rosemary, and garlic. Set aside.
With lightly oiled hands, push the air out of the dough and roll it back into a ball. Squeeze and pinch off small balls of dough, coat in the butter mixture, and place on the bottom of the bundt pan. When you have arranged one layer of dough balls, sprinkle on 1/3 of the Parmesan cheese. Continue layering the dough balls and cheese until you have three layers. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rise again until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare your marinara sauce. In a medium sized pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add garlic and saute, until lightly golden. Add crushed tomatoes, salt, pepper, oregano, basil, and bay leaf. Stir to combine. Then reduce heat to low, cover, and let simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. (Yield: 3 cups)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake bread for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown. Let cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Then, run a butter knife around the edges of the pan to loosen the bread, and invert onto a serving plate. Serve hot with marinara sauce.
Adapted from The Pastry Affair