Herb Bread

Discussion in 'Recipes and Cooking' started by marlingardener, Sep 21, 2017.

  1. marlingardener

    marlingardener Strong Ash

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    This is a version of foccacia, an Italian herb bread that goes great with pasta dishes, hearty soups, or toasted with a topping of tapinade.

    Makes two flat loaves (or four!)

    1 1/2 c. warm water
    1 tblsp. active dry yeast
    4 c. all purpose flour (I use Gold Medal unbleached, but any all purpose will do)
    2 tblsps. mixed dry herbs (basil, oregano, thyme, etc.) or 4 tblsps. finely chopped fresh herbs
    1 tblsp. fine sea salt (don't try to substitute Morton's or any table salt)
    4 tblsps. ordinary olive oil
    yellow cornmeal

    Pour warm water into a large bowl and sprinkle yeast over. Let it stand undisturbed (don't stir) until the yeast dissolves--5 to 10 minutes.
    Stir in 1 c. flour, 1 tblsp. dry herbs or 2 of fresh chopped, sea salt, and 2 tblsps. olive oil. Mix together until well blended. Mix in the remaining flour, 1 c. at a time until a thick and somewhat sticky dough forms (depending on humidity and the flour used, you may need to add up to 1/2 c. more flour at this stage).
    Turn the dough out on a well-floured board and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 8-10 minutes, re-flouring the board if the dough tends to stick.
    Form the dough into a ball and place in a large oiled bowl. Oil the top of the dough ball, cover with a cotton dish towel, and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour (again, this depends on humidity and temperature in your kitchen.)
    Punch the risen dough down and divide in half. Shape each half into a flat oval about 1 1/2" thick. (At this point, I shape the dough into four loaves to accommodate smaller appetites and households).
    Place each oval on a baking sheet sprinkled with cornmeal. Brush the loaves with remaining olive oil and sprinkle with remaining herbs. Cover the loaves with dish towels and let rise for 20-30 minutes.
    Place loaves in preheated 400 degree oven and quickly splash oven floor with 1/4 c. water to create steam (this helps the crust get crusty). Bake until golden, about 20 minutes. Cool on a wire rack to keep the bottom from getting soggy. This bread freezes well, so I usually make a double batch to have some on hand for pannini sandwiches or snacking with cheese and fruit.
     

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  3. Philip Nulty

    Philip Nulty Strong Ash

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    mmmmmmm i could go for that,..looks great and lots of tasty herbs in it :)
     
  4. mart

    mart Hardy Maple

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    Oh yes ! Just tear it off and dunk in melted butter. Who needs anything else ?
     
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  5. Cayuga Morning

    Cayuga Morning Hardy Maple Plants Contributor

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    Looks yummy MG. Thanks. I have printed out your recipe so I won't lose it.
     
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  6. marlingardener

    marlingardener Strong Ash

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    Mart, try dunking in olive oil infused with roasted garlic--even better than butter! I take a cup of good olive oil and mash two heads of garlic that I've roasted in the oven until brown on the outside and creamy inside, remove the skins from the mash, and then put the mash into the oil. Let it sit to blend flavors for at least two hours (anticipation!:drool:). If the garlicky oil is put in the fridge, it lasts two or three days--just let it come to room temperature before dunking.
     
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  7. Ronni

    Ronni Young Pine

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    You could also gently warm it in the microwave....the smells are heavenly!!
     
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  8. mart

    mart Hardy Maple

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    May try that MG ! Would have tried it already if I had thought about it. Warm too !
     
  9. Sjoerd

    Sjoerd Mighty Oak

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    Jane, that sounds REALLY delish !
     
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