Making this sourdough pull apart bread was a complete sensory experience; from touching and kneading the dough, to the smell while it was proofing and baking and finally the appearance and melt-in-your-mouth taste of the soft and herby loaf.
I basked in the aroma of the garlic and herbs every time I walked into my kitchen. The dough bulk fermented for about 10 hours (mostly overnight) and proofed in the pan about 5 hours so I had plenty of time to enjoy the wonderful fragrance that filled the room. The baked bread was even more heavenly. I’ve been enjoying it for dinner, snacks and even breakfast.
I got so hungry while I was photographing the loaf that I took a piece from the center before I got the final photos. I just couldn’t help myself. If you are wondering why there is a gap in the middle of the loaf, this is why. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
It’s so much fun to make breads using a sourdough starter. You can take a favorite recipe and transform it into something new just by substituting sourdough for the yeast and adjusting the hydration/flour ratio.
When I found out about the Sourdough Surprises Baking Group last year, I had already missed a bunch of the baking surprises, but I knew this was a bandwagon I wanted to jump on.
I have several sourdough starters; each made from a different type of flour. Participating in this baking group provides the opportunity to try different types of breads using my starters.
This month’s challenge was to make sourdough monkey bread or pull apart bread. Sweet and gooey monkey bread is fun to make and just as enjoyable to eat, but I decided something savory might be better for my waistline, particularly since we just celebrated Valentine’s Day.
The first time I made this pull apart bread, I used my spelt sourdough starter and spelt flour. I adapted a recipe from a cookbook I don’t normally use, and I didn’t particularly like the result. It was just so-so.
I looked around for more inspiration and found it on Pinterest and in another one of my cookbooks. This time, I used my newly created KAMUT sourdough starter because it had been recently activated and was ready to go. I decided to pair the KAMUT with spelt. I really like this combination although I think it would be good with all spelt as well.
Garlic & Herb Sourdough Pull Apart Bread
Makes: 1 Loaf
Inspired and adapted from:
- Herb Spelt Bread from Classic Sourdoughs by Ed & Jean Wood
- Garlic & Herb Pull Apart Bread by Baked by Rachel
- 1 cup sourdough starter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup milk
- 4 cloves minced garlic
- 1 tsp. sea salt
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 tsp. dried thyme
- 1 tsp. dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp. crushed dried basil
- 3 1/2 cups all-purpose white Spelt flour
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted & divided
- 4 cloves minced garlic (or more to taste)
- 6 – 8 tablespoons Parmesan cheese (or more to taste)
- 1 tsp. crushed dried basil
Note: If you haven’t fed your starter recently, refer to the post on how to activate a sourdough starter.
Pour the activated sourdough starter into a large mixing bowl. Warm the milk. Stir the oil, minced garlic, salt, sugar and herbs into the warm milk and add this mixture to the starter. Mix well using a wooden spoon or Danish dough whisk.
Add the flour, a cup at a time and continue adding until the dough is too stiff to mix by hand. Turn it out onto a floured work surface and knead in the remaining flour. Knead until the dough is smooth and elastic.
You can also mix and knead the dough in a bread machine or stand mixer if you prefer.
Place the dough in a clean, greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let it proof at room temperature, about 70 degrees F. for 8 to 12 hours (or overnight). During the bulk fermentation, the dough should double in size.
The next morning or 8 to 12 hours later, gently remove the dough to a floured work surface and let the dough rest for 20 - 30 minutes before proceeding to the next step.
Roll out the dough into a 12 x 20-inch rectangle. Brush with 3 tablespoons of the melted butter and sprinkle the parmesan cheese herbs and minced garlic over the top.
Cut the dough into 6 equal pieces using a sharp knife of a pizza wheel. Stack the pieces on top of each other and cut the stacks into 6 equal pieces.
Transfer the stacks to a 9 x 5-inch bread pan. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and let the loaf proof for 2 to 4 hours, until it doubles in bulk or rises almost to the top of the pan. I let mine proof for 5 hours at room temperature due to my schedule. If you want a shorter proof time,, let it proof at room temperature for 1 hour, then place it in a warm place, 85 to 90 degrees, until it doubles in bulk.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Drizzle the top of the loaf with the remaining 1 tablespoon of melted butter. Place the loaf in the preheated oven and let it bake for 35 – 45 minutes. If the loaf starts to brown before it is baked through, tent it with foil to prevent over browning.
Remove to a wire rack to cool slightly before serving. The pull apart bread tastes best warm, but I also enjoyed it the next day at room temperature.