Thursday, March 18, 2010

Bloomin' Herb Bread

I wanted an earthy, rustic bread that could sop up the delicious Guinness Beef Stew from St. Patty's Day, and this was THE bread. It was relatively easy and I loved how it integrated fresh herbs (I used rosemary and thyme)- they gave it such a wonderful earthy flavor and aroma, and paired nicely with the beef stew. Make sure to use FRESH herbs in this recipe- they are what makes this bread.

Bloomin' Herb Bread
1 tsp active yeast
1 cup water, room temperature
3-4 sprigs fresh rosemary
4-5 sprigs fresh thyme
3 cloves garlic, minced
8 Tbsp (1 stick) butter, melted
20 oz bread flour (approximately 4 cups)
Olive oil
2 tsp kosher salt

1. Sprinkle yeast over the water, and allow it to sit for a few minutes while you prepare the remaining ingredients.
2. Chop the fresh herbs, and add the chopped herbs & minced garlic to the melted butter. Stir well.
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the dough attachment, combine the
bread flour, yeast mixture, and butter mixture. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes until you can successfully achieve a windowpane with the dough. (This is where you can pull off a small chunk of the dough you’re kneading and stretch it gently to see if it is somewhat translucent. If you can do this without it tearing, it’s ready.) (The dough is dense, tough, and not pliable- I thought I had completely failed this dough, but this is how it is supposed to be.)
4. In a separate large bowl, add a Tbsp of olive oil. Form the bread dough (from the stand mixer) into a ball, and add it to the oiled bowl, spinning the dough around to coat it in the oil. Cover with plastic wrap and allow it to rise for several hours until double in size. (I let it rise for 2-3 hours.)
5. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Coat a large dutch oven with olive oil.
6. Remove the dough from the oiled bowl, and punch down the dough. Knead it for a minute or two so that the yeast can redistribute.
7. Form it into a dome and place in the dutch oven. Rub the rounded dough, and add a sprinkling of kosher salt.
8. Cut a large and deep ‘X’ into the surface of the bread dough so it can bloom!
9. Bake on the center rack of your over for 30 minutes with the lid on, them remove the lid to finish it off for another 10-20 minutes.

Source: Adapted from Pioneer Woman


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