To continue on my bread baking resolution for 2012, I had to throw a loaf of bread into the breakfast recipe mix. There’s not much that’s better than homemade bread fresh out of the oven. It’s also nice to have as toast for breakfast the next morning.
I had some leftover fresh dill that I wanted to use up before it went bad, so I decided to try making an herb bread. It came out really well. This is a great way to use up herbs, especially since they always seem to come in huge bunches at the grocery store…way more than you need for most recipes. This recipe is based on one from King Arthur Flour that I modified. King Arthur is a good starting place for basic bread recipes that are well tested.
1 tablespoon sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (1 packet)
2 cups warms water (not over 110°F) + extra if needed
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
5 1/2 – 6 cups unbleached all purpose flour
5 sprigs of fresh dill
1 tablespoon dried rosemary
coarse sea salt
- In a mixing bowl, combine the sugar, yeast, and warm water. Let it sit for a few minutes. Remove the stems from the dill sprigs and chop the leaves.
- Slowly add the flour, salt, fresh dill, and rosemary to the yeast mixture. Mix until it forms a kneadable ball of dough. I had to add about 1/2 cup extra water to form the dough. My apartment is really dry from the heaters in the winter though, so it may depend on your environment.
- Knead the dough on a floured surface for a few minutes until the dough is smooth.
- Place the dough in a very lightly oiled bowl (use olive oil). Cover it with a towel and let it rise for 1-2 hours until doubled in size.
- Gently deflate the dough and briefly knead it. Separate it into two even balls or loaves depending on which shape you prefer. Sprinkle cornmeal on a baking sheet and place the loaves on the cornmeal. Slash the tops a few times diagonally. Let the loaves rise for 45 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 450°F. Put 2-3 cups of boiling water in a roasting pan on the bottom rack of the oven. The boiling water helps the bread be light and crusty.
- Drizzle just a little bit of olive oil on top of the bread. Sprinkle a little coarse sea salt and rosemary on top.
- Place the bread on the rack above the water and bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Mine ended up needing between 25-30 minutes.