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Roasted Garlic Sourdough

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This roasted garlic sourdough bread loaf is decorated with cilantro leaves. With a perfect crumb and great flavor, this bread is a show stopper.

roasted garlic sourdough loaf with parsley on top

For a while now I have been wanting to work on my crust techniques – different scoring patterns, adding decorations, etc.
When I saw this technique of adding fresh herbs on to the crust of your bread I was really excited and definitely wanted to try it. The possibilities are pretty much endless – you could use anything in any pattern. All you have to do is wet the leaves a tiny bit and stick them on! Generously dust the bread with some flour and then allow your bread to proof as you normally would. It really is as simple as that. I cannot wait to try this some more!

roasted garlic sourdough bread loaf

I wish that the leaves had been more vibrant, and that you could see the scored circle more. I think I was a little too carried away in my flouring technique, haha. It didn’t turn out quite as stellar as I had hoped that it would, but it still tasted amazing.
The bread was perfectly delicious, and made one heck of a grilled cheese sandwich! 🙂
And no vampires were anywhere near our house.

How to make roasted garlic sourdough bread

For the full recipe, please make sure you scroll down to the recipe card below, but here is a general overview of making this bread recipe:
  1. First, create the levain and allow to ferment at room temperature for 8 hours.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and roast the garlic for 1 hour. Allow to cool.
  3. Mash the garlic with a fork and mix it with olive oil and chopped rosemary to create a paste.
  4. In a stand mixer with a dough hook, combine the levain, flour, salt, and most of the water, mixing on low speed to create a dough.
  5. Increase the speed on the mixer and mix until you get a medium level of gluten development.
  6. Add the rest of the water and the garlic puree mixture and mix.
  7. The dough will be very soft at this stage, and it won’t look like it is coming together, but it should have both strength and elasticity.
  8. Place in an oiled bowl and allow to ferment for 4  hours – folding it at 30 minutes, 60 minutes, and 90 minutes.
  9. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and divide into two pieces.
  10. Shape the pieces into two balls and allow to rest for 20 minutes.
  11. Smooth the balls into round, smooth balls and mark with an “X” on the top of each round. Place a garlic clove in the center of each X.
  12. Wet either cilantro or parsley leaves and arrange them artistically around the loaf.
  13. Dust the loaves with flour and place them, decorated side down, into a linen lined proofing basket. Proof for 4 hours.
  14. Bake in a preheated oven for 10 minutes with steam and then 25 without steam.

This bread is excellent for grilled cheese sandwiches, for using in a breakfast casserole, for dipping in an olive oil mixture, or eating in a sandwich! Enjoy!

roasted garlic sourdough bread with parsley decoration

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Yield: 12 servings

Roasted Garlic Sourdough

roasted garlic sourdough bread with parsley decoration

Roasted Garlic makes this sourdough loaf fragrant and delicious! Decorations from parsley leaves help make a beautiful presentation.

Prep Time 17 hours 30 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 18 hours 15 minutes



  • 22 g sourdough starter, 100% hydration
  • 31 g water
  • 30 g flour
  • 30 g whole wheat flour

Final Dough:

  • 500 g flour
  • 390 g water, divided
  • all of the above levain
  • 12 g salt

Filling and Embellishment:

  • 2 whole heads of garlic
  • 3 TBSP olive oil, divided
  • 2 TBSP fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 2 unpeeled garlic cloves
  • 8 whole parsley or cilantro sprigs


  1. In a small bowl, combine the ingredients for the levain until well incorporated.
  2. Cover and ferment at room temperature 8 hours.
  3. Preheat the oven to 400F.
  4. Remove the outer papery layers from the garlic, but leave the skins on.
  5. Place the garlic in a square of foil and drizzle 1 TBSP olive oil on top.
  6. Wrap the foil around the garlic and place the packet in the oven.
  7. Roast for 1 hour, or until soft and beginning to turn golden.
  8. Allow the garlic to cool enough to handle, then squeeze out the garlic cloves from their skins.
  9. Mush the garlic with a fork, and mix together with the remaining olive oil and chopped rosemary.
  10. In the bowl of a stand mixer with a dough hook, combine the fermented levain, the flour, salt, and about 85% of the water to start with. Mix on low speed until combined.
  11. Increase the speed to medium and mix until you get a medium level of gluten development.
  12. Add the remaining water and the garlic puree and mix until incorporated. The dough will be very soft and will not come together around the dough hook but it should have both strength and elasticity.
  13. Transfer the dough to a well lightly oiled bowl.
  14. Cover and allow to ferment for 4 hours at room temperature, with a fold at 30, 60, and 90 minutes.
  15. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and divide into 2 pieces.
  16. Shape them into loose balls and allow to rest, covered, for 20 minutes.
  17. Turn the balls of dough over and gently round them into a smooth ball.
  18. Make a small "X" on the top of each ball of dough and twist a garlic clove in the center.
  19. Wet 3 or 4 parsley or cilantro sprigs and arrange them around the garlic.
  20. Dust the loaves with flour and place them, decorated side down, into a linen lined basket.
  21. Proof at room temperature, covered, for another 4 hours.
  22. Preheat the oven and a baking stone to 425F, as well as prepare for your method of steam.
  23. Turn the proofed loaves out onto a sheet of parchment paper and slash a circle about 1" from the edge.
  24. Slide the parchment paper onto the baking stone and bake for 10 minutes with steam, and then 25 without, until the loaves are golden brown.
  25. Turn the oven off and leave the loaves in the oven, with the door cracked, for another 10 minutes.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 212Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 393mgCarbohydrates: 38gFiber: 2gSugar: 0gProtein: 5g

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram, and don't forget to tag #gingeredwhisk.

(slightly adapted from Wild Yeast)

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Thursday 11th of February 2021

I've tried making this recipe twice now. I can't seem to get the levain correct. What consistency should it be? The first time I thought it was way too dry so I almost doubled the water. The dough was super watery. The second time, I followed the exact recipe and my levain was super dry. I couldn't get it to mix with the water and flour to create the dough.

The first loaves still turned out super tasty and I'm on my second round now!

Thanks for your help!


Friday 12th of February 2021

Hi Janie! This is a low hydration levain, so it is stiff and you will need to work to get it all combined. Do not add extra water, just keep mixing! It will come together, promise! (Also this recipe was originally posted in 2013 and I recognize that it needs a good update to make it better! It is on the list to get updated soon!)


Thursday 31st of January 2013

Oooh, I considered this technique for the "bread fashion show" this month too - so pretty! For scoring technique, have you read the blog Tartine Bread Experiment? She makes the most GORGEOUS loaves and her scoring technique is awesome, and she just wrote a post with some tips - check it out!


Friday 25th of January 2013

Oh my gosh, my mouth is watering just reading about this bread. Looks fantastic!

Cher Rockwell

Wednesday 23rd of January 2013

Beautifully done! I love that look on bread loaves, but haven't worked up the nerve to try it yet. It's gorgeous.

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Tuesday 22nd of January 2013

I bet this makes an amazing grilled cheese sandwich!

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