I miss making bread. Not that I’ve ever made a lot of bread in my few years of being a kitchen superhero, but what I have made, I’ve loved making, and there’s just something about pulling fresh loaves out of the oven and knowing that you made them yourself.
Years ago, my ex and I had friends who were a couple, and they had a copy of A Kitchen Witch’s Cookbook by Patricia Telesco. They made this recipe, Herb Bread with Cheese, because it sounded good. When they made it, they realized that what was missing (for them — and us as well) — garlic. So they, and eventually my ex when he made the bread, added in garlic, either minced or powdered or salt. However, that being said, garlic is entirely optional, which makes this recipe excellent for one of my BFFs who is allergic to garlic.
It’s been a while since I made it, and over the last couple of weeks, I’ve really been wanting to make it again. My sister and I are both bread fiends, and The Roommate isn’t far behind on bread fiendery. Two different Sundays were slated to make the bread, but life and drama what they are, my mood wasn’t in the best place to make bread. I don’t think one should put anger and upset into baking because you’ll surely wind up with something nasty tasting. And this is not a bread you want to taste nasty.
This bread is one of those that once it comes out of the oven, slice it, put butter on it, and shove it in your mouth as quickly as possible. Then on the following day, slice it, stick it in your toaster, add butter, and repeat the eating process. One of the other great things about this bread is that if it actually lasts to be several days old, you can toast it up really well and then put it into your food processor and turn it into bread crumbs for chicken. Or you can cut it up into cubes, drizzle with EVOO and put into the oven for fantastic croutons for salad.
Herb Bread with Cheese
1 tsp dried rosemary
½ tsp dried thyme
½ tsp dried sage
½ tsp dried parsley
½ tsp dried dill weed
1 tsp minced dry onion, or 1 tbsp minced fresh onion
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Basic Bread recipe
When preparing the Basic Bread recipe, add the rosemary, thyme, sage, parsley, dill weed, onion, and cheese to the dry ingredients. Complete the recipe as directed. Do not allow the dough to over-rise. Lower the baking temperature to 375º F, and bake for 35-40 minutes. Yield: 2 loaves.
*Basic Bread Recipe
6 cups all-purpose flour
2 envelopes active dry yeast
3 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp salt
2 tbsp shortening
2 cups very warm water (120ºF-130ºF)
Mix 3 cups of the flour with the yeast, sugar, salt and shortening in a large bowl; add the warm water. Beat with a mixer on low speed for 1 minute, scraping the sides regularly. Beat at medium speed for 1 minute. Mix in the remaining flour 1 cup at a time until the dough is easy to handle. Turn on to a lightly floured board; knead until dough is elastic, about 10 minutes. Place in a large greased bowl; turn over once. Cover bowl and leave in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size, about 45 minutes.
Divide dough in half; knead 5 or 6 times. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes. Place in a greased loaf pan or on a cookie sheet. Brush lightly with butter. Allow to rise for 40 minutes.
Preheat oven to 425ºF. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until loaves are a deep golden brown and sound hollow when tapped. Baste with butter in the last five minutes of baking. Cool and enjoy. Yield: 2 loaves.
**Note: the recipe tends to be better by lowering the dill to1/4tsp as it can be a bit overpowering, and the addition of 2 Tbsp Garlic powder give the bread a bit more of an Italian flavor. Also feel free to add or subtract herbs in the recipe to personal taste as I prefer to make the bread with the above changes as well as the omission of the cheese due to personal taste.