Sunday, January 13, 2013

Herb Bread

I had been trying to make bread for a couple days but there was a bit of a comedy of errors. First, I discovered we did not have eggs or milk (after I started proofing the last packet of active rise yeast). Then I couldn't find a recipe at the time that did not use either. Finally, I found a recipe that omitted the two but required several different types of flour and was just too much work. So I winged a recipe using rapid rise (accidentally purchased a couple months ago).

Surprisingly, it turned out pretty well.

This is the Herb de Provence variety

Herb Bread

2 1/2 C AP Flour + as needed
1 t salt (I used sea salt as I didn't want to walk all the way over to the pantry)
1 t sugar
1 packet rapid rise
1-3 T Herbs (herb de Provence or a mix of Italian seasoning and fresh rosemary)
1 C water, warm (~120 F)
1/4 C Olive Oil + drizzle

Combine dry ingredients in bowl. Add the wet ingredients. With a dough hook or hand kneed, kneed until soft and springy (15 mn by hand, ~3-4 on medium by machine). You may need to add more flour.
Drizzle the top with olive oil then cover the top of the bowl with plastic wrap and a tea towel. Place in a warm place (I usually put it on the stove with the oven on at 200 F) for 45 minutes to rise. I believe it roughly doubled.
Pull the dough onto a silpat or pizza stone and form into a loaf. Cover with plastic wrap and then let rise for another 30 minutes. Heat the oven to 400 F. Cut three slices into the top and stick into the oven for 30-35 minutes. While it is baking, place a pan of water on the other oven rack to create a crisper crust (only if you want, but not necessary). The bread is done when tapped it sounds hollow.
Let cool for 10-15 mn at least.
We found that the bread gets a drier after a day- even wrapped up in the fridge. Certainly edible not not as good as fresh out of the oven.

Thoughts:
- Play around with the seasonings, I was pretty cautious with the 1 T HDP and mostly just tasted the olive oil (not a bad thing). I think the Italian seasoning/rosemary variation I saw elsewhere sounds great.
- If you want to use active rise, proof it first with the water and sugar then follow the rest of the instructions (ignoring the sugar, yeast and water you already used).
- This probably would bake up fine in a loaf pan but I haven't tried that, I've heard that using a pizza stone also works well
- It's good with butter or dipped in olive oil with a little cracked pepper and salt

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