There is nothing like fresh hot bread. One of my favorite memories is fresh bread from my Grandma during summer vacations. Living in Norway, I grew accustomed to fresh bread. They don’t use preservatives, so you buy your bread every day fresh and hot. I don’t make it often enough, but enjoy it quite a bit when I do.
This recipe makes a nice savory bread. It’s great with a little butter. It also holds up well thinly sliced and toasted. We ate it with a salmon dinner and used it as the bread on a salmon patty sandwich (leftover salmon, bread crumbs and an egg, formed into a patty and lightly fried, a little mayo and cheese on the bread). The flavors complimented the fish very well, and I imagine it would go great with a meaty dish or stew. The bread will only keep a day or two. Eat it right away, freeze it wrapped in plastic wrap or give it away to a friend or neighbor.
The recipe and detailed instructions are at the end of this post. For this recipe, we need fresh garlic, olive oil, yeast, water, egg whites, granulated sugar, salt, oregano, basil, bread flour, and whole wheat flour. Looks like we have it all. Ready, set, bake…
Saute the garlic in olive oil over low heat. This is done to soften the flavor of the garlic. If your garlic is very strong reduce the amount. Don’t brown the garlic, that will result in a bitter flavor. Set the sautéed garlic and oil aside to cool.
Stir the yeast in the warm water to dissolve. Use a thermometer to make sure the temperature is between 105° and 115° before combining the yeast and water. Yeast is damaged when the temperature exceeds 115° and it’s completely killed at 145°. Let it sit until bubbly, about 5 minutes.
Stir in the egg whites, butter, sugar, salt, oregano, basil, cooked garlic, and all but a few ounces of the bread flour (1/2 a cup).
Using the dough hook on medium speed, knead the dough, adding the reserved bread flour as required, until the dough is fairly stiff and smooth. Once the dough ball has formed let it run for two or three minutes to kneed it.
Place the dough in an oiled bowl, turn to coat both sides with oil, cover, and let rise for 1 hour. I covered mine with plastic wrap, but you could use a warm wet cloth.
The ideal temperature for yeast to rise is between 78° and 82°, with about 88% humidity. There are many different ways to abstain this desired environment. This time, I put my oven on 200° for 10 minutes and then turned it off. I put the bowl covered in plastic wrap in the center of the warmed oven for an hour. It rose perfectly.
Punch down the dough and divide into 2 equip pieces, about one pound two ounces each. I used my scale to make sure I had about 1/2 the total weight in each dough ball. If you don’t have a scale I highly recommend getting one. Most of the recipes I make use the scale to get accurate measurements rather than cup measurements. The scale makes reducing recipe yield size easy too.
Shape each piece into a round loaf. Starting with the loaf formed first, shape each into a tight oval loaf. Using the thumb part of your palm, work your way around the ball several times, pushing the dough to the center. The loaves should spring back when pressed lightly. Place the loaves seam-side down a sheet pans lined with baking paper.
This is optional but makes a nice presentation. Brush each ball with water and sprinkle lightly with whole wheat flour.
This is not optional, make diagonal slashes across each loaf, about 1/4 inch deep. The cuts are needed to allow for steam to leave the loaves as they bake. If they are not cut the steam will find its own way out, leaving you with ugly loaves of bread.
Let rise until double in volume. This took about 45 minutes, but the time will vary.
Bake at 375° F (190°C) for about 30 minutes. Cool on racks.
Recipe: Garlic-Herb Bread
Adapted from The Professional Pastry Chef: Fundamentals of Baking and Pastry, 4th Edition, Bo Friberg Print Recipe
Yield: 2 loaves
- .67 ounces (18 g) minced fresh garlic
- 1 tablespoons (15 ml) olive oil
- .34 ounces (9 g) fresh active dry yeast yeast
- 1 1/3 cups (313 ml) warm water (105°-115°/40°-46°C)
- 1/2 egg whites (20 ml)
- .67 ounces (18 g) granulated sugar
- 1 1/3 tablespoons (20 g) salt
- 1/16 cup (5 g) ground dried oregano
- 1/16 cup tablespoons (5 g) ground dried basil
- 1 pound 4.3 ounces (645 g) bread flour
- Whole wheat flour
- Saute the garlic in olive oil over low heat. Do not brown the yeast. Set the cooked garlic in the oil aside to cool.
- Dissolve the yeast in the warm water. Stir in the egg whites, butter, sugar, salt, oregano, basil, cooked garlic, and all but 1/2 a cup (2 ounces) of the bread flour. Using the dough hook on medium speed, knead the dough, adding the reserved bread flour as required until the dough is fairly stiff and smooth.
- Place the dough in an oiled bowl, turn to coat all sides of the dough with oil, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise for 1 hour.
- Punch down the dough and divide into 2 equal pieces (about 1 pound 2 ounces (510 g) each). Shape each piece into a tight round loaf.
- Place the loaves seam-side down a sheet pan lined with baking paper. Brush with water and sprinkle lightly with whole wheat flour. Make diagonal slashes across each loaf, about 1/4 inch (6 mm) deep. Let rise until double in volume.
- Bake at 375° F (190°C) for about 30 minutes. Cool on racks.