Saturday, January 7, 2012

Herb Peel-Away Bread

I still remember the day I found this recipe.  I remember what I was doing.  I remember the store I was at.  I remember the calender I languidly picked up from the counter, and thought... This looks interesting, I guess since it's free I'll take it....

I was at the Pfaltzgraff outlet, looking for table decorations for my wedding reception.  My mom and grandma were with me, having come up specially from Kansas.  I got 10 little clear glass, flat bottomed bowls for floating candles.  I might have one left, the rest have broken by now.  But, that's ok.  I still have the recipe.

The recipe.  Herb Peel-Away Bread.  One of my first endeavors into yeast bread baking.  The first few attempts were.... interesting.  I was barely 20 at the time.  Not even old enough to buy alcohol, unless my husband gave me permission.  We never did try that... I wanted to though.  Go to a bar and show them my marriage license showing that my husband had the authority to allow me to drink.  What can I say, I like living on the edge.  But, as the taste of alcohol was totally unappealing.... it never happened.  And now I'm old enough to buy my own alcohol.

Back to the bread.

It is a pretty easy bread, which is nice.  It's a quick rise bread, using double the amount of yeast you would normally use, to give it a very quick rise with lots of air in the dough.  Such a light texture.  Then, you add in all the herbs.... it's so good.  I do have to keep an eye on the times, as you really want to eyeball the rising, rather than relying solely on the timer, but other than that it's pretty easy and tastes very good. 

Herb Peel-Away Bread

3 ½ cups all purpose flour, divided
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 pkgs. Rapid rise yeast
1 tablespoon parsley, fresh or dried
½ teaspoon basil
½ teaspoon dried rosemary
½ teaspoon dried thyme
1 cup water
6 tablespoons butter, divided
1 egg, room temperature

Combine 2 ½ cups flour, sugar, salt, yeast and herbs in a large mixing bowl.  In a small saucepan combine water and 4 tablespoons butter.  Heat until hot to touch, about 125° to 130° F.  Add liquid to dry ingredients.  Stir in egg and just enough of remaining flour to form a soft dough.  On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough for about 4 minutes or until smooth and elastic.  Let rise, covered, for 10 minutes.  On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a 12 inch square.  Melt 2 tablespoons butter and brush the top of the dough with the butter.  Cut into 36 squares.  Overlap squares in three layers, butter side down, in a greased 9x5x3 inch loaf pan.  Let rise, covered, in a warm place until doubled in bulk.  Bake at 375° for 20 to 25 minutes.

Yield: 1 loaf