This week, we're making rosemary bread:
Bread is just great. Good bread is a joy to eat. We, the Dutch, eat a lot of bread and brown bread is officially the thing we miss most when we're away from home (apparently, people hold questionnaires about this sort of thing). There is a world of difference between good bread and bland bread. That is why I'm departing relatively far from the GW2 recipe for bread. Instead of water, I use milk and butter, and I add salt and sugar to a mixture of plain and wholemeal flour. If you're a purist, you can use the same quantity of water and just omit the salt and sugar, but I really don't recommend it. If you do that, you will end up with what is technically bread - but it will be so much less tasty. So forgive my transgression and just roll with it. Whatever you do, do not make a bread with only wholemeal flour. It will not be good. At most, use 2/3 wholemeal and 1/3 plain flour, but you will need to add a bit more yeast than for the ratio given in this recipe.
I don't usually bake bread by hand, as I have a bread maker. There's not that much difference between a bread from the oven and a bread from a bread maker, except (obviously) the shape, and bread from the oven is often more dense as it is harder to get the conditions perfect for rising dough. If you have your own bread maker, just follow the instructions in the manual to make the bread of your choice and add in the herbs. You can also let your bread maker make the dough and proof it the first time, and then do the shaping and second proofing by hand and bake it in the oven.
Two other breads in the GW2 arsenal that you can make with this same basic recipe are tarragon bread and saffron bread. When using saffron, place the saffron threads in some hot water for a while before using it. And you can try much more: Just replace the rosemary with the herb or spice of your choice!
Bread with herbs or spices
400 g plain flour
100 g wholemeal flour
320 ml milk, lukewarm
50 g butter, melted
1 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp dried rosemary or other herb/spice
1 3/4 tsp instant yeast, or however much is necessary for 500 g flour according to the packaging
Activate the yeast if necessary according to the instructions on the packet (keep in mind that sugar and milk you use for this come out of the total amount for the recipe). Mix both types of flour with the rosemary in a bowl. Make a hollow in the middle for the liquid ingredients. Sprinkle the salt along the edge of the bowl. Add the yeast, half of the milk, butter and sugar to the bowl by pouring them into the hollow in the middle. Carefully mix in some flour with your fingertips. When all the wet ingredients have been absorbed, add a bit more milk. When all the milk has been added, knead to a strong dough. Form the dough into a ball, place this in a bowl and cover with a warm damp tea towel. Put in a warm place for 2 hours, until the dough has doubled in size.
When continuing with the dough, first beat into it with a fist. Transfer the dough to a worktop. Knead it through a few times, then form into a ball again. Place on a baking tray lined with baking parchment, cover with plastic film and leave for another hour.
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Centigrade. Remove the plastic film. With a sharp knife, make two 1-cm-deep cuts into the dough ball so that they form a cross (see before-and-after picture below). Place the baking tray in the middle of the oven and bake for 40 minutes until the crust is a nice, even brown. The bread should sound hollow when you tap it with your fingernails. Leave to rest on a rack for about 30 minutes before cutting it. Great as an accompaniment to a hot meal, but also for sandwiches. Enjoy!
|Before and after baking|