Saturday, February 17, 2007

Worth Your Thyme

Herb Garden Loaf

Years ago, a man who was very kind to me mentioned that herb bread was his favorite food in all the world. I found this recipe somewhere (I can't remember where) and I made it for him. I've held on to the recipe--scratched in my own hurried handwriting onto three separate index cards-- and I make this loaf a few times a year. It isn't difficult, especially for the beautiful and delicious results.

4-41/2 C. flour
3 TBs. sugar
2 pkg. rapid rise yeast
1 1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. each marjoram, thyme, and rosemary
3/4 C. milk
1/2 C. water
1/4 C. butter
1 egg

In a large bowl, combine 1 1/2 C. flour, sugar, yeast, salt, and herbs. Heat milk, water, and butter on stove top until the butter is just melted. Stir milk mixture into dry ingredients and mix well. Mix in egg. Add just enough or remaining flour to make a soft dough. Knead on a lightly floured surface until smooth (4-6 minutes). Cover it and let it rest 10 minutes.

Divide dough into three equal pieces. Roll each into a 30 inch rope. Braid the ropes and pinch the ends like so...

Tie a knot in the center of the braid and wrap the ends around the knot in opposite directions to form a roundish loaf. Place on a greased baking sheet. (I use my pizza stones)

Cover and let rise in a warm draft-free place until doubled in size...

Bake at 375 degrees for 30-35 minutes, or until a beautiful golden brown. Melt extra butter and brush on top. Sprinkle with extra herbs and enjoy. I served this with our first pan-seared steak of the season. The bread is remarkably soft and absorbs the pan sauce beautifully.

And remember, the only thing better than the smell of fresh bread baking is the smell of fresh herb bread baking.

1 comment:

Elise said...

Oh, this looks so wonderful! I know this is an older post, but I've been browsing through the recipes, and I definitely want to try this one!
Marjoram is my favorite herb/spice, and I have fresh rosemary and thyme in my garden right now. I'm going to attempt to use half wheat and half white flour. Off I go!