Herbed Italian Bread

Herbed Italian Bread

Herbed Italian Bread

Don’t you just love the artisan breads available now?  My favorites are black olive ciabatta and breads made with cheese and herbs.  You can turn any basic pizza dough into a crusty loaf with herbs, olives, roasted cherry tomatoes, and cheese.  This recipe is basic pizza dough with herbs and it makes a terrific roll for muffalatta, sliced and toasted for bruschetta, and other inspired sandwiches.

Thank heavens for food processors, they are a gift from the culinary gods for making fast work out of labor intensive chores, like kneading bread.  This is a quick and no-knead recipe for the food processor so you’ll need a processor with a large bowl and a large bowl or pot to cover the dough while it proofs.  All-purpose flour is fine all by its self, or you can add some whole wheat flour to kick-up the protein value.   It’s so warm in Las Vegas that any yeast bread dough will rise in 40 minutes anywhere I leave it.  Just be sure to proof your dough somewhere warm and test for proofing after 40-45 minutes.  Leave it longer if need be.

Here’s an old trick I learned from Pierre Franey for making crusty breads:  throw a few ice-cubes onto the floor of the oven just as you start baking.  As the ice-cubes melt they will humidify the oven.    Also, if you want a shiny crust, egg wash the loaf before baking.

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour plus 1 Tbsp for bench flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 tsp rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp fresh coarsely ground black pepper (about 6 grinds)
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 pkg. rapid-rise yeast
  • 1 cup water (if weather is dry, you may need to add more water a Tbsp at a time)

 

Processed dough
Processed dough

Method:

  1. Place all ingredients into bowl of processor in the order given.
  2. Pulse until just combined then increase speed to maximum until dough comes together in a ball.  Don’t worry about scraping down the sides, as the dough comes together and spins around the bowl it will clean the bowl of any ingredients clinging to the sides.
  3. Dust your counter with a little flour and knead dough 2 or 3 times to form a ball. 
    Ball of dough before proofing

    Ball of dough before proofing

     

  4. Place a large bowl or pot over the dough and let proof for 40-45 minutes.  Press a finger into the dough.  Dough will not spring back if it has finished proofing.

    The dimple means the dough is finished proofing

    The dimple means the dough is finished proofing

  5. Preheat oven to 375° F.  Lightly grease a baking sheet and sprinkle with cornmeal.
  6. Punch down dough and let rest for 10 minutes.
  7. Shape into a loaf.  Place dough on prepared baking sheet. 
  8. When oven reaches temperature, place baking sheet on middle rack of oven.  Dough will finish rising while baking.
  9. Throw 3 or 4 ice-cubes onto floor of oven. 
  10. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until top is golden brown and bottom sounds hollow when tapped.
  11. Remove from baking sheet to cooling rack.

    Ready to slice for bruschetta

    Ready to slice for bruschetta

 

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4 Responses to “Herbed Italian Bread”

  1. satellite heart anya marina Says:

    satellite heart anya marina

    Herbed Italian Bread | This Dame Cooks Blog

  2. pam Says:

    nice pictures!!, the bread looks great

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