4-5 cups bread flour
1 tablespoon salt
2 cups warm water
1-1/2 tablespoons yeast
1 garlic clove
1 teaspoon molasses
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 cup cold water
1 tablespoon sugar
While you can make this recipe entirely by hand, I recommend using an electric mixer for combining ingredients and kneading the dough. A typical KitchenAid mid-range mixer can handle three loaves worth of dough. This recipe makes two loaves.
Begin by adding the yeast to the warm water in your stand mixer's bowl. I prefer to aim for 95-105 degrees though a little warmer or cooler should be fine. Let the yeast soften for a few minutes.
Add 4 cups of bread flour and the salt and mix with the beater attachment (the one used to make cookie dough) until the dough mostly has stopped sticking to the bowl. Add more flour a little bit at a time if needed. If you live in a humid area, you may find yourself adding another 1-2 cups. Don't let it get too dry. It's totally okay for it to be sticky.
Switch to the dough hook and run at low speed for 12-15 minutes. Grease a really big bowl. Gently shape the dough into a ball and put in the bowl. Roll it around to make the entire surface somewhat slick, so it won't stick much as it rises. Cover with a cloth and let it rise in a warm area for an hour.
After the dough has risen, "punch" it down. If you haven't done this before, make a fist and press into the dough over and over. The goal is to get the built up gasses out. Split it into two pieces and shape each into a ball. Put one back into the bowl you just used and the other in a new bowl and cover both. Let them relax for 15 minutes. Mince a glove of garlic while you're waiting.
Take out one of the dough balls (the "dinner" loaf) and put it on a floured cutting board or countertop. Roll it out with a rolling pin, working those bubbles out. It won't become completely flat and doesn't need to be any specific shape. Sprinkle the garlic over the dough and then roll it into a pan loaf. Jan's Dough blog gives an illustrated guide to the quick way to make a pan loaf. When I roll, I use a baguette technique, pressing the roll as I go to make sure it stays tight. Unlike a baguette, I then tuck the ends like Jan recommends. It's personal preference.
After you've shaped the loaf, put it into a greased loaf pan and cover with a cloth until doubled in size, 30-60 minutes depending on how warm your house is.
The second ball of dough will be your "dessert" loaf. Roll it out like you did with the first one. Drizzle honey on the dough and then roll it up. It will be wetter and less cooperative so do the best you can. Place it in a loaf pan and let it rise until doubled.
When ready, put a broiling pan or brownie pan on the bottom rack of the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Slash the top of each loaf. For the ones I posted on Facebook, I did a crosshatch pattern. Three shallow slashes is enough though.
Dissolve cornstarch in cold water. Lightly brush on the garlic loaf. Add sugar and molasses to the remaining cornstarch mixture and lightly brush on the honey loaf.
Place both loaves on the middle rack of the oven and toss 7-8 ice cubes in the pan on the bottom rack. Quickly close the oven door and do not open it for at least 30 minutes.
Let the loaves bake about 40 minutes then take them out of the pan and set them directly on the middle rack in the oven. Let bake another 10 minutes or so. It's not an exact science. I've learned timing by trial and error.
Pull out the loaves, drizzle honey on the honey loaf (do nothing to the garlic loaf) and let them cool on a wire rack or wooden cutting board for at least 30 minutes before cutting. If you cut too soon, they'll cave in or smoosh, especially toward the middle of the loaf. It's hard to wait but the longer you wait, the better the result.
When you can't wait any longer, enjoy the garlic loaf with butter. The honey loaf is quite sweet on its own but a sprinkling of confectioner's sugar is a nice treat.
This isn't as complicated as I made it sound. I just didn't want to miss any of the steps as I wrote it. I made the recipe up as I went along this afternoon and got lucky that it was a hit with my family.