Recipe: Roasted Garlic-Parmesan-Rosemary Bread with Rye Poolish

My daughter asked me if I could make her a garlic-parmesan-rosemary loaf for her birthday, as that is her favorite bread of mine. I normally make this as a sourdough, but because of time constraints, building a levain wasn’t an option. But I didn’t want to make just a straight dough. Not that it would be bland, but for me at least, it would just be a bit boring. Plus, a straight dough just doesn’t keep fresh for long.

But then it occurred to me that I could still use a preferment and make a poolish. While it wouldn’t have the sourness of a levain, it would contain at least some organic acids that would not only add to the flavor profile, but also add some natural preservative. Then it further occurred to me that if I made the poolish from rye flour, I’d add yet another dimension to both the flavor and textural profiles! The result was magnificent, as you can see in the picture above. Here are numbers…

Overall Formula

Roasted Garlic6.00%


Preferment % of total flour50%
Preferment Hydration100%
Yeast @ 0.33%1g

Final Dough

Bread Flour821g
Water (90-100°F)558g
Roasted Garlic66g
Total Yield2020g
2 X 1000 loaves

Extra Ingredients

Normally, I’d include the whole garlic cloves, cheese, and rosemary in the overall formula and the final dough. But I’ve found that developing the dough first, then including the cheese and garlic when I’m shaping gives me much better results.

Raw, Whole Garlic Cloves200-250g
Parmesan Grana Padano Cheese400g
Fresh Rosemary (finely chopped)10-15g

Make the poolish. The night before you bake, make the poolish. Since it’s going to ferment overnight, there’s no need to use warm water. Just use regular tap water or room temp water. Because you’re using rye flour, you won’t get many surface bubbles, if any at all. But you will get lots of expansion by morning. And don’t worry if the poolish has peaked and subsided a bit.

Roast the garlic. Place the garlic in either an oven-safe container or some foil. Drizzle with a little olive oil to coat the cloves, then wrap them so all cloves are covered. Roast for 30-45 minutes at 375℉/250℃ until the cloves are mashable with a fork. Mash the cloves well, then set aside and allow to cool.


  1. In a separate bowl, combine all the wet ingredients together, along with the yeast and poolish. Mix well to break up and dissolve the poolish and set aside.
  2. Thoroughly combine the flour and salt in your main mixing bowl.
  3. Pour the liquid mixture into the dry mix, then start to slowly combine. As the dough starts forming, add the mashed garlic.
  4. Mix the dough until smooth and no dry ingredients remain.

While you can certainly hand-mix the ingredients, I like to use a mixer for this dough. It’s more efficient.

Bulk Fermentation. You want this dough to double in volume. This could take anywhere from 1 1/2 – 2 hours.

Folding. Fold the dough once within the first 45 minutes. But make sure you fold it to the point where the dough no longer wants to be folded. Once you’ve finished folding, turn the dough over onto the seams.

Divide and preshape. Once the dough has fully fermented, turn it out onto a clean work surface. Divide into two 1000g pieces (yes, I scale out the portions), then form the pieces into nice rounds. Bench rest the rounds for at least 15 minutes to allow the dough to relax.


Work a round into a rough rectangle as shown below.

Next, spread half the garlic cloves, parmesan cheese, and rosemary evenly over the surface of the dough.

Next, fold over the ends of the rectangle.

Starting at the “top” of the rectangle, start rolling the dough into a cylinder. Try to make the rolls as tight as possible without tearing the dough.

Once you’ve finished rolling up the cylinder, pinch the cylinder closed, then roll cylinder onto the seam.

Now, with a sharp knife, cut the cylinder in half length-wise, and form a “V” with the two halves.

Carefully, twist the two halves together.

Pick up the twisted mass from the ends, then place it into a well-oiled 9″ X 5″ X 3″ pan.

Bake. Drizzle olive oil over the top of each loaf, and bake at 375℉/250℃ for 45-50 minutes. It may seem that this is a low temp to bake at, but you want to roast the garlic slowly, plus you don’t want to completely liquify the cheese, which will happen at a higher temp. Bake the loaves until the internal temperature reaches 205-210℉.

Remove from the oven, turn the oven off, then separate the loaves from the pans. Put the loaves onto a baking sheet, then return them to the oven and let them cure for 15-20 minutes to help solidify the crust.