Monday, February 1, 2010

Garlic-Herb Braid

I have always loved baking homemade bread but haven't always had the best of luck with yeast. Baking, for me, is an exact science; follow directions precisely and the end result should be a perfect creation of my detailed efforts. However, yeast is entirely different and can seem extremely tempermental. When proofing the yeast, if the temperature of the liquid is too hot, you can "kill" the yeast. If it's too cool, the yeast won't activate. Add too much flour, your crumb may be too dense. Not enough? Too sticky. This can be a daunting task for the home baker like me. I've come to the conclusion that working with yeast and bread baking is one of those tasks that you just have to pull yourself up by your boot straps, jump in with both feet and bake, bake, bake. As I consistently tell my children, "If you want to be good at anything, it takes effort, lots of time and practice". :)

This bread recipe came from my latest "Simple & Delicious" food magazine. Staying true to its cover title, this bread recipe was a cinch to throw together, took no time at all to rise and had a deliciously moist crumb that suited our Italian meal perfectly. The combination of herbs and garlic would compliment many varieties of main dishes. Not to mention, it makes a beautiful presentation for the everyday meal or would impress your dinner guests for a lovely, more formal evening.

If you're like me and are little wary of working with yeast, this would be a perfect recipe for you to throw into the ring as a practice bread. The yeast is not proofed in any liquid but is added in with the dry ingredients and then the wet ingredients are mixed in. Simple! The dough is needed by hand, which can be very theraputic and then braided and rests for 25 minutes. Short, sweet and perfect for any night of your week.

From the heart of my kitchen to yours, may your experience be fun and the food always flavorful. Enjoy!

Garlic-Herb Braid

4 to 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 Tbsp. sugar
2 pkg. (1/4 oz. each) quick-rise yeast
2 tsp. dried basil
1-3/4 tsp. dill weed
1-1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. garlic powder
3/4 tsp. dried rosemary, crushed
3/4 cup 2% milk
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup butter, cubed
1 egg
1 Tbsp. butter melted

In a large bowl, combine 1-1/2 cups flour, sugar, yeast and seasonings. In a small saucepan, heat the milk, water and cubed butter to 120-130 degrees. Add to dry ingredients; beat just until moistened. Add egg; beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.

Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 4-6 minutes. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes.

Divide dough into thirds. Shape each into a 15-in. rope. Place ropes on a greased baking sheet and braid; pinch ends to seal and tuck under. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 25 minutes.

Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Brush with melted butter. Remove from pan to a wire rack to cool.

Source: Taste of Home's "Simple & Delicious" Jan/Feb 2010


HoneyB said...

This looks awesome Christy!

HoneyB said...

p.s. you make me want to make bread! ;)

Meghan said...

This is such a beautiful loaf of bread! I love the look of braided bread - definitely need to try it out. I'm surprised by how quick this recipe looks; I think I could actually make it for a weeknight dinner!

Natalie said...

i recently tried braiding bread for the first time and LOVED the result! i can't wait to give this one a go...yours turned out wonderfully!

Mary said...

I am a lover of all things bread and that looks so good I want to snatch a hunk right off the screen!!

teresa said...

oh i love this, i can only imagine how good your house was smelling!

cookies and cups said...

Looks great and easy! How did you know the 120 degrees? Did you use a thermometer? Just wondering because whenever there is a temp to follow I always stress!

Christy said...

cookies and cups-I have always used a candy thermometer to give me the temp. of any liquids I'm working with that call for readings. They're pretty inexpensive ($3-$7) to pick up, cause if you're like me, I break one every now and then. :) Hope this helps!

Smitten Sugar said...

That bread looks delicious!Yummmm

Krista said...

I definitely want to try this one. I love that it's an easy yeast bread recipe and the flavors sound delicious!

Ingrid said...

Looks fantastic and like you I'm just coming into my own with yeast! We're going to be eating a lot of bread the next few days! :)

Thanks for sharing, Christy!

Btw, has baseball kicked off yet for you guys? Being in FL we don't we ever stop. I wish we did but unfortunately it's year round here.

~Amber~ said...

This definitely sounds delicious. I might go make it right now. ;)

Colleen said...

This looks delicious! I love savory breads.

GenuineAidBlog said...

I love garlic and I love home made bread. Great Recipe :)

Amy said...

Thanks for the recipe! I made this last night with a little alteration and it turned out great.


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