Baking: Fresh Herb Bread

My second treat I baked earlier this week came in the form of a bread. (On a slight side note, I have a weird love for bread. I even have a pin board dedicated to it's deliciousness.) But, don't be scared at all of yeast breads. Yeast bread is actually easy to make, and really the hardest part is waiting on it to rise. I will caution you, however, to make sure the place where you're letting it rise is at a regular 'room temperature.' Yeast dough will not rise properly in a cold room.

This bread can be made with a variety of herbs, but I usually use rosemary. The pine-y scent really lends itself to this bread. For these particular loaves, I used leftover thyme from our holiday cooking.

{Fresh Herb Bread}

1 tbsp. yeast
1 tbsp. granulated white sugar
1 c. warm water
2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 tbsp. fresh herbs (such as rosemary or thyme), finely chopped
2 tbsp. butter

Place yeast, sugar and water into a food processor, and allow to sit and become bubbly. This should take a few minutes. Mix in one tablespoon of butter, salt and 2 cups of flour. Add in one tablespoon of the chopped herbs, and knead in the food processor for 3-4 minutes.

It should be well mixed, with no floury edges. Then add in the last half cup of flour and knead for 1 minute in the processor. The dough should come into a ball at this point. If not, press it together by hand. Place the dough into a bowl lightly greased with some regular olive oil, and cover it with a kitchen towel. Let it rise in a 68-80 degree room for one hour.   Punch down the dough and divide it in half with a knife. Let it rest for another 5 minutes, then shape the dough pieces into loaves, and place them on a baking sheet that's been foiled and greased with cooking spray. Sprinkle the tops of the loaves with the remaining tablespoon of chopped herbs, pressing them into the dough. Cover with the kitchen towel and let them rise for 45 minutes. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and bake the loaves for 15-20 minutes.

If you choose, brush with remaining tablespoon of butter as they come out of the oven. 

This bread is great to serve with leftover Fillet of Beef Bourguinon

Or, you can slice it and serve it with a nice, steamy cup of coffee for breakfast. 


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