Herb Loaf Recipe

Salt. Water. Flour. Yeast.
It never ceases to amaze me that such simplicity can create one of the best things in the world: bread.
With the school year fast approaching in addition to our already crazy lives, here's a bread that comes together quickly and easily, yet feels truly artisan with the addition of herbs.
I hope y'all like it and I can't wait to see pics!
-Mariana, @troyofbaking 
RECIPE
Ingredients:
  1. 1.5c lukewarm water (pop it in the microwave for 15 second increments until the temp feels right)
  2. 2t instant yeast
  3. 2T fresh herbs OR 1 T dried herbs (I used mostly fresh oregano, thyme and rosemary but threw in some dried marjoram and a general Italian herb blend because, why not?) 
  4. 4c AP flour
  5. 1.5t salt
Steps:
1. Combine ingredients in a kitchen aid bowl. *TIP- try to keep your salt and yeast apart when adding ingredients as the salt may kill the yeast if you let them sit together too long.*

2. Mix on low using a dough hook for about 7 minutes. *TIP- check your dough about halfway through kneading. My dough was a little too wet so I added a tad more flour. You can tell if it's too wet if it is very sticky and not coming together. The same is true should your dough be too dry, just add about a teaspoon more water until it is correct. Humidity will have a huge effect on your dough so it's important to be able to spot the signs and know how to fix it.*

3. The dough will be soft and smooth. When you poke it, it shouldn't be sticking to your finger like cookie dough. 

4. Place your dough in a greased bowl. *TIP- if you aren't mixing anything in your kitchen aid bowl just grease the dirty bowl and pop the dough back in. In my opinion, the less dishes to do the better.*

5. Cover and let rise for an hour or until nearly doubled in size. *TIP- if you are trying to avoid one-use items, wet a tea towel and place it over the top of your bowl. Another alternative is to use a disposable shower cap (like what you get at a hotel). I will gently clean and reuse those shower caps until they get holes in them.*

6. Flour a surface and deflate the dough.

7. Shape it into a round and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

TIP- If you don't know how to shape a boule, follow this video link. We are only shaping once, but I find her video very helpful and easy to follow.

 

8. Cover with greased plastic and let rise for another 30 to 45 minutes. 

9. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.

10. Once the dough is noticeably puffy it is time to score. Try using the sharpest blade you have to create nice, clean lines. Otherwise, you'll end up with slightly ugly ones like mine. If you too have some messy lines, don't stress about it! You are not a machine. You are having fun and it is still beautiful- like you. Hearthands.  

11. Optional. If you like a shiny loaf, go ahead and use an egg wash. All you need is an egg and some water. Mix with a fork and lightly wash the loaf before baking. If however, you like a flour-y, more rustic look- leave it off. There is no wrong way.

12. Alright! It's time to bake! Pop that bad boy in for about 30 to 35 minutes. If you want to be really technical with knowing when it's done, you can use a digital thermometer. The loaf is done at 190 degrees F.

13. Place on a wire rack once it's out to cool.

14. At this point, your house smells amazing and the bread is looking at you and you are looking at it and you just want to dig in so badly. If you can resist, wait 30 minutes before slicing for best results.

15. Buen provecho!

This bread is so versatile. It works perfectly with every single meal of the day. One of my favorite ways to enjoy it is with mashed avocado, salt, pepper and fried eggs.
Considering that it is tomato season, how could I not make a tomato sandwich? I dressed up this classic a little by using a homemade sriracha and lime aioli instead of regular mayonnaise. 
I cannot wait to see your creations! I mean I am REALLY excited.
Please tag me @troyofbaking.
:)
Talk to y'all next Friday and happy baking! 
BONUS RECIPE: Lime & Sriracha Aioli
Ingredients:
  1. 3/4c olive oil (or whatever oil you have)
  2. sriracha to taste (you know how spicy you like things)
  3. pinch of black pepper
  4. 1/2t salt
  5. 2 pinches of sugar
  6. 3T lime juice
  7. 1 mashed garlic clove
  8. 2 egg yolks
Steps:
  1. Whisk everything except olive in a large bowl.
  2. Whisking continuously, slowly drizzle in oil. *TIP- If you don't feel like doing this by hand, an immersion blender works great.*
  3. Once it thickens up, it's done. 

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