Tuesday, April 7, 2009

ANOTHER Bread Recipe -- Round Loaf Herb Bread

Seriously, when there are bread recipes like this, why would you ever be tempted to buy store-bought bread? I've already written a love letter to my favorite ever cookbook, "More-With-Less;" my adoration for it is pretty well-known among my friends. So when I got a baking bug but hit a wall in my "Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Baking," I turned to the trusty, earthy, frugal goodness of MWL. Here's what I found:

Round Loaf Herb Bread (adapted from the divine "More-With-Less Cookbook" by yours truly)

Dissolve 2 packets of active dry yeast (or 5 teaspoons, or 1 tablespoon of instant yeast) in 1/2 cup warm water.

Meanwhile, saute in a small skillet until golden brown:
  • 1/4 c. cooking oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 t. kosher salt
  • 1 clove garlic, minced (or 3 cloves roasted garlic, chopped)

Add to yeast mixture:
  • 1 can evaporated milk OR 1 1/2 c. milk plus 1/2 c. powdered milk
  • 3 T. sugar
  • 1/2 c. chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 t. dried dill
  • 1/4 t. dried thyme
  • onion mixture

Stir in:
  • 1 c. cornmeal
  • 2 c. whole wheat flour (I used King Arthur because it's very finely ground)

Knead in:
2 - 3 c. additional whole wheat flour, or until mixture is smooth and only slightly tacky, then knead for about 5 minutes. Shape into a round, place in a greased bowl (flip it over so the whole lump of dough gets oiled), cover with a damp towel and let rise about an hour or until it's doubled in volume.

Turn out of the bowl, divide in half, gently shape each half into rounds. Line a sheet pan with parchment and sprinkle parchment with cornmeal. Place each round loaf onto parchment, cover all with a damp towel and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350. Allow at least 20 minutes for your oven to preheat, regardless of when it says it's preheated!

When loaves are doubled, get about 1/4 cup of water in a cup, put the bread in the oven, and toss the water on the oven floor (unless you have a gas oven -- I don't know if you can safely do this with gas). IMMEDIATELY close the oven door or you'll get a face full of steam! (The steam created by the water helps with two things: the "spring" or initial oven rise of the dough, and the crust -- your loaf will definitely have a sturdier crust this way. Yum!)

Bake 30-45 minutes or until loaf sounds hollow when you thump it. Let cool slightly before slicing, if you can bear it.


Beau-Dougitty said...

Maybe if you have a gas oven, you could put a sheet pan on the bottom rack before you preheat it and then throw the water in the sheet pan? Just a suggestion.

Also-I started brewing my own beer. I bought a kit at Hops & Berries with my birthday money. It's delicious

Laura's Mom said...

Two things:
1) Alton Brown said the same thing last night about preheating an oven for a souffle. If you only preheat it until the signal sounds, the walls of the oven don't heat up properly, and you lose 20% of the heat when you open the oven door to put in the goods. He also suggested 20 minutes of heat up time.
2) Each packet of yeast contains a scant tablespoon of yeast, ie 2.5 teaspoons, so your 5 teaspoons is correct, but that should be 2 scant tablespoons, not 1.

Laura said...

Oh... sorry, I read it again and it wasn't clear what I meant. I mean you can use either:

1 packet of active dry yeast OR
5 teaspoons/2 scant tablespoons active dry yeast OR
1 tablespoon instant (a.k.a. quick-rise) yeast.

I have instant yeast (cuz it's cheap from Sam's Club) so I always have to scale down the amount for recipes that call for active dry yeast. And I'm pretty sure I got that oven-temp thing from A.B.

Doug, great idea. Also: awesome.