Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Onion-Herb Bread

I'm really getting this bread baking thing down! With this one recipe, at least. haha.
Thanks again to Mary Gubser, author of "Mary's Bread Basket and Soup Kettle" circa 1970 something. Helpful tips, easy to read recipes, confidence building all around!

One tip she stresses is that no bread recipe can possible call for the exact amount of flour you'll need. All flours absorb different amounts of liquid, so you'll just have to get a 'feel' for how dough is supposed to stretch, etc and when you're done adding flour. I added about a cup less than she recommended, and i'm pretty sure it was behaving properly.

Two things i did differently that helped my success:
  • I have a new meat thermometer that is, gasp ACCURATE. Plus it comes with a handy booklet that recommended adding water a temp of 100 or so degrees to activate the yeast. This is much 'warmer' than the warm water i've been adding to my previous bread attempts.
  • I canned some chicken stock in the morning, and used the empty (save the inch of warm water) but still warm and humid pressure canner to do my incubating. That was some happy, rising dough!
Onion and Herb Bread, Adapted from Mary Gubser
  • 1 package active dry yeast (I believe that's 2 1/2 T)
  • 1 1/4 Cup warm water - I used half whey/ half water
  • 1 tsp powdered chicken stock - I used no sodium stock
  • 1/4 Cup hot water - i used all whey (note: i think whey acts different than water, producing a denser bread perhaps? Next time, i will use all water and see if it makes a flavor/texture change)
  • 1 1/2 T sugar
  • 1/4 Cup oil
  • Several T fresh, chopped herbs. I used rosemary, oregano, dried basil, sage
  • 1 multiplying onion with greens, chopped. Could use chives or scallions.
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 4-5 Cups flour - I used about 3.5 cups, a mixture of all purpose and bread flour
Combine yeast with warm water and dissolve. In small bowl, blend powdered chicken stock and hot water. Add the sugar, dissolved stock, and oil to the yeast. Beat in 1.5 cups flour until smooth. Stir in herbs and onions and gradually add in enough flour to make a workable dough. Turn out onto floured surface and knead about 10 minutes until smooth and satiny. Round into a ball and place in a warm, greased bowl. Cover loosely in plastic wrap and a towel and set in a warm, protected spot to double - about 1 hour.
Punch down, knead on floured surface about 3 minutes, cover and let rest 10 minutes. Shape into a greased loaf pan and let rise to the tops of the pan, about 40 minutes. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 40 minutes until over 190 degrees inside.

Makes a great egg salad sandwich!

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