Friday, April 30, 2010

Rosemary and Garlic Wheat Bread

Making bread from scratch is probably easier than you think. My mom has always been great at making healthy, homemade bread. I didn't ever feel compelled to try until I was watching something with a bunch of French bakers making massive amounts of baguettes, croissants and other delicious goodies. For some reason it looked really satisfying, and you know what? It is. This bread doesn't really need to be kneaded, just stirred, but it's still gratifying to pull something pretty out of the oven that you made from a few simple ingredients and thanks to weird chemical properties of yeast. You could easily double this, the loaves are fairly small. You can make this will all white or all whole wheat flour, I went with half and half. I adapted this from the measurements and times given in another recipe, but I made quite a few alterations.
Also, I use Herbes de Provence quite a bit. I usually just use whatever spices I have around without stressing out about buying everything a recipe calls for, but you should really try this. It's a mixture of dry herbs (mine includes thyme, marjoram, rosemary, basil, fennel, sage and lavender - there may be some variation from brand-to-brand). It's amazing in bread and goes well on chicken, lamb and plenty of other stuff. Plus, herbs are a great way to add a lot of flavor for virtually no added calories. I added more dry rosemary leave to this so that flavor would really stand out.

Rosemary and Garlic Wheat Bread


1 cup luke warm water
1 and 1/2 tsps. active dry yeast
1/2 tbsp. Herbes de Provence
2 cloves garlic, mixed
1/2 tsp. dry (or fresh) rosemary leaves
3 tbsps. olive oil
1 egg, beaten
1 and 1/2 tsps. salt
1/4 tsp. fresh cracked pepper
1/4 tsp. sugar
1.5 cups all purpose flour
1.5 cups whole wheat flour
2 tbsps. vital wheat gluten


1. The water should be around 90 degrees, a bit warmer than body temperature. The yeast won't activate in water too cool and if the water it too hot it will kill it. Mix the yeast, water and sugar and let it sit until it gets a little foamy, five to ten minutes.
2. After yeast mixture is ready, mix in the oil, salt and one cup of the flour and stir until incorporated. Mix in the rest of the flour one-half cup at a time. Add the vital wheat gluten. Stir until elastic.

3. After all of the flour is incorporated stir in the pepper, rosemary, Herbes de Provence and garlic until incorporated.
4. Transfer the dough into a clean bowl with a couple teaspoons of olive oil and roll the dough around until the whole ball is lubricated. Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise in a warm place for about an hour, or until doubled in size. Preheat oven to 175 degrees.
4. When dough has risen, separate into two loaves and make two slits in the top with a sharp knife.

5. Brush the beaten egg over the dough and place into the warm oven. Allow dough to rise a bit more in the oven, about fifteen minutes. Increase heat to 350 degrees and cook for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.
6. Transfer loaves to a rack and sprinkle with salt while still hot. Enjoy!

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