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Dec 9, 2012 07:51 AM

raw garlic in no-knead bread

I started a no-knead bread dough last night and added some fresh minced garlic and rosemary. It is now almost 12 hours so I'll be getting ready to bake it soon. But I'm just remembering something about how botulism can grow when raw garlic is left in oil at room temperature because it is not exposed to oxygen... So isn't that the same when I mixed it into my bread dough?

I've tried to google this. There is a recipe I found of adding raw garlic to no-knead bread, but that was a quick version with a lot more yeast, so the dough was not left out to rise for 12 hours. I'm now worried and not sure if I should throw my dough away. Or does baking the bread and garlic kill any presence of botulism?

Any insight would be appreciated. Thanks.

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  1. As yeast breaks down the sugars in the dough it produces CO2 and ethanol as by products. The ethanol may help to retard the growth of botulism.

    1. The only problem you'll have adding raw garlic to bread dough is that even with baking it won't lose it's raw pungency. That's why most folks saute the garlic a little first before adding it.

      But that aside, there won't be a problem with botulism forming in your bread. The time-frame simply doesn't support it.

      And if you have a minute, all you need do is Google "adding raw garlic to bread dough" to confirm this.

      7 Replies
      1. re: Bacardi1

        Thanks for the info. Unfortunately, I already threw out the dough after calling NYC Poison Control Center, who told me they weren't sure about this and to be safe, I should not try to eat it. They gave me the number to the USDA or FDA but they are closed during weekends.

        I did google "adding raw garlic to bread dough" but like I said, in those recipes, no one left the garlic in the dough for so long, or they add the garlic in towards the end only a couple hours before they bake it. My main concern is having the garlic in the bread dough for 12 hours.

        I'm usually not such a wuss when it comes to stuff like this. If the worst thing to happen was just basic food poisoning (vomiting and diarrhea) I would have risked it since I have a pretty strong stomach. But I wasn't going to mess around with botulism!

        Next time, I'm either going to cook the garlic first, or add it in raw towards the end of the dough rise.

        1. re: evagram

          Botulism is anerobic which is why garlic in oil is a concern--oil is an oxygen free environment AND it's non-acidic which is the second environmental requirement for botulism growth. Rising or baking bread is neither of these things.

          1. re: splatgirl

            hmm that's good to know for future reference. thank you. whats acidic in the dough though? yeast?

            1. re: evagram

              The other by product of yeast consuming starch is lactic acid. This is (in part) what makes long-proofed bread taste good. It's also why the yeast activity eventually tapers off. As acidity increases, yeast activity decreases.

              Anyway, acid/alkaline doesn't matter in your case. The aerobic environment alone is enough to preclude botulism growth.

            2. re: splatgirl

              Ditto. That's what I found out when I researched it online.

              Funny how a "Poison Control Center" couldn't come up with an answer. I'd sure be leery of taking serious advice in an emergency from a Poison Control Center like that.

              1. re: Bacardi1

                Due to liability their advise will usually be don't eat it, throw it out, go to the ER

                1. re: Bacardi1

                  I know. I was kind of annoyed when she said I don't have that information and didn't even seem to know about botulism in raw garlic and oil. I had to explain it to her, then she was like, "oh well then you should throw it out to be safe." This is a 24/7 hotline supposedly staffed with pharmacists and nurses. I mean, she was really nice but not really helpful.

          2. The garlic I've had in rustic loaves appeared to be roasted before baking.

            1. Slightly off topic but what's the appeal of raw garlic in the bread? Health reasons? Taste? I find raw garlic bitter and even slathered butter I can't imagine biting into a big piece of raw garlic in my bread.

              Now roasted garlic in bread? yummmmmmm

              2 Replies
              1. re: foodieX2

                I tried that once with regular bread - I figured "Hey, why not put the garlic directly in the bread dough to get instant garlic bread?"

                The dough didn't rise well, and was too garlicky even for me, and I"ve been known to substitute "head" for "clove" in recipes. I toasted it, covered it in a thick 4-cheese sauce which included blue cheese, and baked it, and that was amazingly good.

                1. re: foodieX2

                  well the raw garlic in the dough will ultimately be baked and therefore no longer raw... i love that intense taste of garlic!

                2. another option I love.. is to put 2 heads of garlic (trimmed at the top) in a small bowl, sprinkle with olive oil on top and salt and pepper if you want.. with 2 tablespoons of water in bottom of the bowl.. then cover with saran wrap and microwave on MEDIUM for 3 to 4 minutes... check for softness.. if not soft enough.. on medium cook for 1 minute at a time more till soft. Should not take longer than a total of 5 or 6 min. Cool and chop and add to bread. Sure beats heating up the oven to make roast garlic and is wonderful in no knead bread.