The past few weeks I’ve been experimenting with lids. One of my very first lidded projects was to make these garlic roasters! I’d never roasted garlic before but my boyfriend had, and he suggested I try it out. They turned out really beautiful! My research about them revealed that they’re usually done in unglazed terra cotta, and soaked briefly in water before being used for roasting. The extra water that soaks into the terra cotta is supposed to help them roast the garlic. Since I’ve never used a garlic roaster before, and don’t have access to terra cotta, I thought I’d try a couple different glaze patterns and try them all to see which one works best.
As you can see, I have one roaster that is entirely unglazed, one that is fully glazed, and one that is left unglazed on the inside only. Unfortunately the vent hole in the partially glazed roaster was blocked with glaze during the firing so I wasn’t able to test that one out today. Once it gets warm enough to work outside I’ll dremel it back open and try it out! But for today a test between the two opposites: glazed and unglazed!!
It worked out nicely that my two available garlic cloves were different sizes, they matched perfectly with my large and small roasters! I tried to keep everything as similar as possible so I could make it a fair test. I started by chopping off 1/4inch from each bunch of garlic.
I added olive oil and salt to each head of garlic, and soaked the lid of the unglazed roaster briefly before popping both into a COLD oven. That part is very important!! Ceramic bakeware should always be started in a cold oven to avoid cracking. To adjust for the time preheating, I just start the clock after preheating has finished. Even so, it took longer than I expected for these to finish cooking; the recipe I used suggested about 35 minutes, and from start to finish it was closer to almost an hour! I checked them after the 35 minutes and they looked like this:
Contrary to what I expected, it seems that the fully glazed roaster cooked faster/better than the unglazed! If you look closely you can see that on the blue plate, the garlic is golden brown and mostly soft, whereas on the unglazed plate the garlic is still mostly solid and hardly browned at all. I put both back in to keep my test consistent and waited another 20 minutes before taking them back out of the oven.
Oh yes. Thats what it should look like! Nice and brown, soft, and extra juicy! The garlic in the unglazed roaster looked very similar to this one after the extra time, however the glazed roaster worked faster overall, so I think glazed is the winner here! I do however like the shape of the unglazed better; its plate has a lip that makes it easier to pick up out of the oven, and I think in the future I’ll make all my roasters either with that lip or with handles of some type.
The only thing left to do is the taste test! I used regular wheat thins and added nothing to the garlic, only smashed it up to make it more spreadable. There was no noticeable difference in the flavor that came from the two roasters; both tasted AMAZING, although I definitely had some pretty intense garlic breath afterwards! I’ll definitely be making some more of these in the future!