When garlic cloves are chopped, their volatile compounds come into contact with one another in a collision that generates allicin, which gives garlic its pungency, and pyruvic acid, which is responsible for its spicy heat. Roasting the cloves whole, however, draws out their sweetness, yielding the sumptuous confit that adorns this pretty focaccia. Cook the focaccia on a pizza stone, which will give the bottom crust a delicious crunch. This recipe first appeared in our November 2014 issue with the story The Glories of Garlic.
- 2 heads garlic
- 1⁄4 cup olive oil, plus more
- 2 cups water, heated to 115°
- 1 1⁄2 tbsp. active dry yeast
- 5 1⁄2 cups flour, plus more
- 1 1⁄2 tbsp. kosher salt
- 1 1⁄2 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper
- 3 tbsp. dry white wine
- 1 tbsp. coarse kosher salt
Heat oven to 350°. Slice garlic heads in half crosswise and set cut side up on a piece of aluminum foil. Drizzle with 2 tbsp. oil and 2 tbsp. cold water; wrap into a tight package. Bake until tender, 1-1 1⁄2 hours.
Stir warm water and yeast in a bowl; let sit until foamy, about 10 minutes. In another bowl, whisk flour, salt, and 1 tsp. pepper until combined. Add yeast mixture and the wine; stir until dough forms. Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface; knead until smooth, 6-8 minutes. Place dough in a lightly greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Set in a warm place until dough is doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Transfer dough to a greased 13″ x 18″ rimmed baking sheet. Using your fingers, spread dough until it completely covers the bottom. Press dough all over to form dimples. Set in a warm place, uncovered, until dough is slightly puffed, 40-45 minutes.
Place a pizza stone on a rack in lower third of oven. Heat oven to 500°. Squeeze cloves from reserved garlic heads and press into dough, again forming dimples with your fingers. Drizzle remaining oil over dough. Sprinkle with remaining pepper and the coarse salt. Bake until focaccia is golden brown and cooked through, about 20 minutes. Let focaccia cool slightly before serving.