The only thing better than the smell of fresh made bread from the oven is fresh made Herb Bread from the oven.
And the only thing worse than a recently reformed non-smoker is a first year gardener showing off the spoils of his herbs in container garden...
They say things like, "no need for those plug in air fresheners, i just move a pot of Rosemary into a room and it fils the air with such a delightful scent".
And, "cooking with fresh onion chives has really added a new layer of flavors to just about any savory dish".
People get so bored... Until they taste the spoils of the container garden...
Here's what I did...
Makes one 2-pound loaf or 2 1 pound loafs
1 1/2 cups lukewarm water (about 100º F)
1 tablespoons granulated yeast
1 tablespoons kosher or other coarse salt
4 cups all-purpose white flour (no need to sift)
2 1/2 TBS Sugar
1/3 cup fresh herbs (I used Rosemary and onion chives)
Extra 1/4 cup Flour to aid in kneading
A brush of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
a pinch of Sea Salt
- Mix the dry ingredients with the herbs first. I like to do the mixing stage in a gallon size ziplock bag. I mix my bread in a Kitchenaid Mixer. I have also been successful mixing in a food processor. During my time on the island, when I didn't have any kitchen appliances, I did the mixing by hand..
- Add the water and mix well. Be sure the water is warm, but not too hot. Anything above 110 degrees will kill the yeast before it gets a chance to do it's magic.
- Now it's time to knead the bread. Keep the extra flour handy, as the dough at this stage is very wet. Knead for at least 10 minutes. You will need to add flour to get to a sticky, but not too sticky phase. With experience, you can feel and see the bread become hydrated. That is when the ingredients mix completely, and it is ready for a rest. I "knead" in the Kitchenaid at a medium-low setting for about 5 minutes. I do the last few minutes by hand to get the feel of the right consistency. Ready to add more flour if needed, or more water (in 1/2 teaspoon increments) if needed.
- Modern Bread makers call it proofing, old timers call it rising. But whatever you want to call it, form the dough into a ball, coat with a bit of Olive Oil so the outside does not dry out, cover with a towel and let it rise for 2 to 3 hours. The dough will double in size in that time .
- And now, it's time to punch the dough down, and orm the loaf
- Punching the dough is exactly what it sounds like. The yeast releases gases. That is why the dough doubles in size. When you take a punch at the dough, the gases are released. The dough returns to it's original size. If you are dividing the dough, use a knife to cut the dough, instead of tearing.
- You can make a round inverted bowl shape, or ia loaf size. A little kneading is fine (it's just fun to knead), but no more than a minute or two.
- If you press the dough out to a circle, even thickness, and roll it up, it forms a nice submarine shape.
- Brush a little Oil on the outside of the bread and sprinkle a bit of coarse cut Sea Salt on the top.
- Take a VERY sharp knife and cut slits onto the bread
- I bake the bread (350 degrees) using a remote read thermometer, with the prob inserted into the center of the bread. The bread is done when it reaches an internal temp of 190 degrees. If you cook by time, it takes about 25 minutes if you are baking a loaf (long, thinner, like a submarine), or about 30 minutes if you are baking a bowl shape.
- Allow to cool for 10-15 minutes before cutting (this also evens out the cooking internally so the final loaf has no underdone dough spots).
Come see some terrific ideas for bread. There have been LOTS of submissions, just perfect for the HOT DAYS ahead!You can find this recipe on eRecipeCards.com.
And if you think you want to try this again in a few weeks, you can easily store the recipe in an electronic recipe box you set up, you control and only you see. It's a great feature that lets you store all those amazing recipes you see on the internet.