Prep 1 hr 40 mins
Cook 25 mins
Usually I post things to get the nutritional info, but this one is so worth sharing. My husband says this is the best bread he has tasted. It's another recipe by the fabulous Laura Calder on Food TV Canada's 'French Food at Home.' I made this by hand and it was as easy as homemade bread can be. Any dried herbs can be used for this, and it can also be made without any herbs, but it's not as good. I used McCormick's Herbes de Provence, which is a blend of rosemary, marjoram, thyme, savory, basil, lavender and sage. Makes an excellent accompaniment for any French or Italian dish, or serve it toasted and open faced with butter, slices of fresh tomatoes and your favourite cheese. It's so good.
- Stir the sugar and yeast into the water, and set aside for 10 minutes to dissolve.
- Put the olive oil and salt in a large mixing bowl, and add the yeast mixture.
- Beat in 1-1/2 cups/285 g of the flour, until smooth, along with the herbs.
- Work in the remaining cup/125 g flour, turning it onto the countertop to knead, until you have smooth, springy dough, 10 to 15 minutes. (I found 15 minutes yeilded a much better bread than 10 minutes).
- Cover with a tea towel and set in a warm place to rise to double, about 45 minutes.
- Punch the dough down and shape into a loaf. (I shaped mine into a ball by pressing the dough slightly flat, folding in the corners, pinching them together and then flipping the ball over with the pinched corners on the bottom. I then made three long slices in the top for steam to escape. This is how Laura did it on the show.).
- Let rise again 30 minutes (or not), and bake at 400ºF/200ºC for 25 minutes until done. I brush the loaf with an egg/milk wash before I bake it, but it's not necessary. The wash is 1 yolk beaten with a tablespoon or two of milk. You can also spray the loaf lightly with water, or put a pan of boiling water in the oven to give the bread a crispy crust.
- Let the bread cool a little before slicing to serve.
Best Bread Ever! I found this exact same recipe in 2007 on Martha Stewart's site and have since had it safely tucked into my stack of favorite recipes. I make it every time I entertain and it's always a hit. Nobody can believe how easy and quick it is to make, so I always end up sharing it. I can no longer find it on Martha's site, but even though Martha doesn't deem it good enough to share I sure do and I'm glad somebody else posted it so I don't have to retype it for all my friends! I'm not sure how the original poster gets it this golden since mine never darkens this much, but I don't care one bit. It's delish, and even works wonderfully without the herbs!