Ever have that warm feeling tickle you when you smell that bread baking in the oven? I always do.. not just at home but even in the bakeries. I start feeling hungry & want to touch & feel that warm, soft loaf. Yeah! it’s that romantic. From not ever baking to bread… I am here today where making bread at home is theraputic for me.
I love the Rustic breads with a crust top & full of flavors inside. One of these are the herbed bread. Last week a dear friend of ours got us a whole bunch of Rosemary from his garden. I used it in pasta, made some oils. With so much fresh herbs still there I though they would be best used in a bread. This the first time since I started baking that I did not follow any recipe. I used my own measurements & followed my mind quite prepared to have a disaster! But it was not a disaster & I am not ashamed to say that I was very very excited to see the way it turned out! The best bread I ever baked!
(It made a big oval loaf, a small round one & 2 little buns)
- 1 Cup Bread Flour
- 3 Cups Whole Wheat Flour ( More for dusting)
- 3 Teaspoon Dry Active Yeast
- 3 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil (& some more for brushing the bread)
- 4 Tablespoons Finely Chopped Fresh Rosemary + 1 Tablespoon more to sprinkle some on the top (More or less as you want it)
- 4 Tablespoons Freshly Ground Peppercorns + 1 Tablespoon more to sprinkle on the top (More or less as you want it)
- 2 Teaspoons Sea Salt
- 1 Teaspoon Sugar
- 2 Cups of Warm Water
Mix the Oil, Chopped Rosemary & Ground Peppercorn & cover & keep it overnight for the flavors to enhance. (you can make this is a bigger quantity & use it as herbed oil & may be for dipping the bread in it).
Take half cup of warm water & dissolve the sugar in the water. Add the yeast to this & let it foam up & do it’s part.
Mix the salt, Bread Flour & the Wheat Flour. Add the herb & pepper with the oil to this & gently combine. Add the yeast water & the 1.5 cups of water & make a dough.
Knead for no more than 10 minutes. It will be a soft dough. Coat it with some olive oil, cover & keep in a warm place for about 3-4 hours till the amount doubles.
Punch it down & Divide the dough in to 2. Shape them into Ovals or Rounds.( I did a big oval, a small round & 2 little bun sized for my two kids).
This is an optional step just for the looks.. you may skip this. Make a shallow slit on the top about 5 inches long… pinch both sides of the slit, pull & spread it out on the sides like wings .
Make slits like a cross on the top of each loaf. Slightly brush with Olive oil & sprinkle with more Rosemary, Pepper & Sea Salt.
Lightly Cover the dough & let it rise for another hour.
Pre Heat the oven to 400 Degrees F. Bake for about an hour or till the top is light brown & crusty. The bread will sound hollow when you tap it.
That comforting aroma… It was a lovely, hearty bread. A thin layer of crust on the top & flavorfully soft & chewy inside. The pepper added that slightly warm feeling. I made some dipping oil with more black pepper & herbs. We had it with some vegetable bean soup, for dinner.