Add a pinch of herbs when baking bread

There is a revival of herb growing, indoors and out, because we are now aware again of how much interest herbs can add to salads, soups, vegetables, fish, fowl, and meat. Another category sometimes overlooked is their value in bread baking.

The simplest of loaves, muffins, or biscuits can be taken out of the realm of the ordinary by the inclusion of a sprinkling of herbs. If you do not have a kitchen garden, choose your favorites from the supermarket shelf. What could be easier than the following corn sticks or muffins made from packaged mix? Corn Sticks with Rosemary 1 package corn bread mix 2 teaspoons rosemary, minced, or 1 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed

Prepare the corn bread mix according to package directions and add the rosemary. Bake in well-greased corn stick or muffin pans in a 400 degree F. oven for 15 minutes.

Another simple preparation uses a convenient biscuit mix. Try this with scrambled eggs or an omelet at breakfast or brunch. Easy Dilly Cheese Bundt Bread 3 cups biscuit mix 1 1/2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese 1 tablespoon sugar 1 1/4 cups milk 1 egg, lightly beaten 1 tablespoon vegetable oil 1/2 teaspoon dillweed 1/2 teaspoon dried mustard

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.Generously grease a 6-cup bundt pan or 9-by-5 -inch loaf pan.Combine biscuit mix, cheese, and sugar in large bowl. Combine remaining ingredients in second bowl and mix well. Stir into dry mixture, blending thoroughly, then beat slightly to remove lumps. Turn into pan and bake until golden, 45 to 50 minutes.

Biscuits, one of the easiest and quickest breads to prepare, with the addition of a few herbs, are elegant enough to serve at the most impressive occasion. Herb Biscuits 2 cups sifted flour 3 teaspoons baking powder 1/2 teaspoon salt 4 tablespoons cold shortening 1 1/2 teaspoons dried parsley 1 teaspoon onion powder 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder 1 teaspoon celery seed or 1 1/4 teaspoons caraway seed 1/2 teaspoon ground sage 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard 3/4 cup milk

Sift dry ingredients together and cut in shortening. Add herbs to flour mixture before adding the 3/4 cup milk, to make a soft dough. Place on a floured board and knead lightly a few seconds, using as little flour as possible on board.

Roll out 1/2 inch thick and cut with floured biscuit cutter. Place on greased baking sheet and bake in a 450 degree F. oven about 12 minutes. Makes 14 2-inch biscuits.

If you only turn to sage when you are making stuffing for roast pork, chicken , turkey, or goose, you will discover that it is just as effective in bread. Cottage Cheese-Sage Bread 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 1 tablespoon sugar 2 teaspoons dried sage, crumbled 1 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon baking soda 1 package dry yeast 1/4 cup warm water (105 degrees F. to 115 degrees F.) 1 cup small curd cottage cheese 1 egg 1 tablespoon lard or unsalted butter, melted

Generously grease 2-quart round baking dish. Combine first 5 ingredients in medium bowl and blend well. Combine yeast and water in measuring cup and let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes. Combine cottage cheese and egg in processor or blender and beat until smooth.

Transfer to large bowl of electric mixer. Add lard or butter and yeast and blend well. Add flour, a small amount at a time, beating well after each addition. Dough will be stiff. Cover with towel and let stand in warm, draft-free area until doubled, about 1 hour. Punch dough down. Turn out onto floured surface and knead 1 minute. Dough will be sticky but should not require additional flour. Transfer to prepared dish.

Cover and let rise in warm, draft-free area until doubled, about 40 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake loaf until top is browned and bread sounds hollow when tapped with finger, about 35 to 40 minutes. Turn out onto rack and let cool before slicing and serving.

This ultimate in herb breads has a hearty, stick-to-the-ribs quality. The recipe makes 2 loaves. Freeze one, or impress a friend with your baking prowess. Hearty Herb-Cereal Bread 6 cups all-purpose flour 2 envelopes active dry yeast 2 tablespoons sugar 1 teaspoon salt 1/2 cup oats 1/4 cup bran 1/4 cup dry milk 1 cup wheat germ 1 to 2 tablespoons dehydrated onion 1/4 teaspoon sage 1/4 teaspoon celery seed 1 to 2 tablespoons dried parsley 1 to 2 teaspoons each oregano, thyme, marjoram, and black pepper 1/4 cup melted butter or margarine 2 1/4 cups hot water 1 egg

Mix 2 cups of the flour in mixing bowl with other dry ingredients. Add butter and water and beat for 2 minutes at medium speed with electric beater. Add 1 cup flour and the egg, and beat 1 minute at high speed. Add remaining 3 cups flour.

Knead dough until smooth, then let rest for 20 minutes.Punch dough down. Shape into 2 loaves and put into greased pans. Let rise for 1 to 2 hours, or until double in bulk.Bake in a 400 degree F. oven for 20 to 30 minutes. Makes 2 loaves.

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