Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Whole Wheat Herb Bread

My most well-loved and well-used cookbook is The Vegetarian Epicure. My copy is currently in many pieces, the binding is shot from 30+ years of use, but I hesitate to replace it with a shiny new one. The stains are all familiar, as are most of the recipes. So you can imagine my surprise when I learned a couple of months ago that there was a book two! I ordered it second hand and this is the first recipe that I have tried from it. Not surprisingly, it turned out beautifully.

This recipe is for three small loaves of bread, but I made two medium sized ones.. in my fancy cake pans! Why not? The dough is soft and malleable. Perfect for a shaped pan.
I love the herbs, garlic and shallots in this bread - it tastes a bit like a focaccia, and the leftovers would make great stuffing. Give it a try!

Whole Wheat Herb Bread
adapted from The Vegetarian Epicure, Book Two
Anna Thomas

1 cup water
1 cup milk
1/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp dry active yeast
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large shallot, minced
approx. 5 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp each - dried basil, thyme and oregano
1 egg

Heat together the water and milk until lukewarm (90-100F), then stir in the sugar and yeast.
Heat the oil in a small skillet and saute the garlic and shallot in it until they just begin to colour.

In a large bowl, combine the yest mixture with about 1 1/2 cups of the flour and beat with a stand mixer until smooth. Add the salt, the herbs, the oil mixture, and the egg and beat again.

Gradually add approximately another 1 1/2 cups of flour and beat for 5 minutes. The dough should be soft and smooth.

Stir in another cup of flour, then turn the dough out onto a floured board and knead it for 5 minutes., working in as much of the remaining flour as is necessary to keep it from sticking. The dough should be smooth and elastic and still quite soft. Form it into a ball and put it in an oiled bowl, turning it over once so that it is evenly coated with the oil. Cover the bowl with a towel and leave it in a warm place for 45 minutes, or until the dough has nearly doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 375F.

Punch down the dough and form it into 3 small loaves (I made 2 med). Place them in small, oiled loaf pans, cover them with a towel, and leave them to rise again for about 1/2 hour. Bake the loaves in a preheated oven at 375F for 35 minutes, or until they sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.

This bread has been Yeastspotted!