Freshly picked herbs bring a bold flavor and aroma to home cooked dishes. To have a selection of fresh herbs available in my kitchen, I started an outdoor herb garden this year, planting a range of seedlings consisting of rosemary, thyme, oregano, and basil. With plenty of sun and careful watering, the plants have quickly outgrown their planters, spilling over the edges and onto the ground. Now challenged with an overwhelming abundance of herbs, I have been finding new ways to include them in my everyday cooking, including with this fresh herb bread.
The Wolf Gourmet countertop oven has a permanent place in my kitchen. I use the countertop oven more often than my regular oven because it is energy efficient, heats up quickly, and—even though it is considerably smaller than a traditional oven—it is large enough to accommodate the majority of my baking pans. It does not heat up the house (which I am especially grateful for during these warm summer months).
For breads, the countertop oven features “proof,” which is a low-temperature setting (80 °F) that helps yeast dough rise faster than it would at room temperature. The oven is a draft-free environment, which allows the yeast to work at converting sugars into carbon dioxide. With the fresh herb bread, I used the proof setting for both rises: the first when doubling the dough size after kneading, and the second to bring it to its final size after shaping.
The fresh herb bread has a bold flavor and fragrance. The bread is customizable to your tastes: use whichever herb or combination of herbs you prefer. Whether spread thickly with butter, sopping up gravy, or forming the base of a sandwich, the bread becomes a kitchen staple. If you do not have fresh herbs, dried herbs can be substituted in their place. Since dried herbs have a more concentrated flavor, use 1 teaspoon of dried herbs to every 1 tablespoon of fresh herbs.
Kristin Rosenau is a baker and high school science teacher with a serious sweet tooth. After starting an affair with butter and sugar out of college, her love for baking has only grown. The voice behind the blog Pastry Affair, Kristin develops original recipes that give homespun flavors a fresh, new feel. She believes in the power of a good book, a shot of espresso, and travel to unfamiliar places.
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