Sunday, November 27, 2011

Savory Herb Bread

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday! We hosted a couple friends again this year, though it was a lot tighter fit then in our previous apartment in Bushwick! I made a pretty good spread, including turkey and gravy, garlic mashed potatoes, corn bread stuffing, some other assorted veggies and a salad, and a pumpkin pie. I think this may be the first year I've managed everything without stressing out and getting everything done at the same time on schedule! So for that, I was proud. 4 times is the charm apparently. And considering the size of my tiny Brooklyn kitchen now, that is no small feat! :-)

In any case, the new thing I added to the menu this year was bread from scratch! I've been wanting to make homemade yeasted bread for awhile now, but have never gotten around to it. I've done pita bread and pizza dough, but not actual loaves of bread. I spotted this recipe in my Cafe Brenda cookbook and it sounded lovely for a Thanksgiving meal, so I went for it. This was probably the last time of the season to get fresh herbs at the farmers market, so it was especially great for that!

Though bread making takes awhile, it's not active cooking for the whole time, mostly you just have to wait for things to rise. So, for a Thanksgiving cooking day, this was perfect to throw together, leave it alone for a few hours, and then pop in the oven.

And, it was DELICIOUS!


Savory Herb Bread
Cafe Brenda Cookbook

Makes two loaves

1.5 Cups warm water
1.5 TBS active dry yeast (about 1.5 packets)
1/4 cup honey
4 - 4.5 cups flour
2 tsp chopped fresh chives
2 tsp chopped fresh parsley
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
up to 2 TBS other chopped herbs such as marjoram, basil, or oregano (or slightly less dried)
1/2 tsp salt
2 TBS oil

Add the warm water and yeast to a large bowl and mix together until the yeast dissolves. Add in the honey and stir well. Add in 2 cups of flour and mix together. Set aside the mixture while you chop all the herbs. Then add in herbs, salt and oil and stir. Then add the remaining flour 1 cup at a time. Once the dough has come together, turn onto a floured work surface and knead well for a few minutes. Place in an oiled bowl and cover. Let rise in a warm place for an hour. Punch the dough down and knead a couple times for air bubbles, then separate into two loaves. I did one circle flat loaf and one regular bread loaf, as we only have one rather decrepit loaf pan. (Santa! Hint: we could use a new loaf pan! :-) ) Place the loaves either on a buttered cookie sheet or in a loaf pan. Cover and let rise for another 45 minutes to an hour.

Bake at 350 for 50 minutes. (Note: Our oven runs quite hot, and I peeked in at about 20 minutes and the dough was already starting to brown. I turned the heat down to about 325-300 and it turned out well. So be sure to keep an eye on things once you start to bake.)

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