What could be more wonderful than the smell of freshly baked bread? It seems to be an aroma that automatically makes us feel good. The kneading process is very therapeutic and then there’s the eating… well it’s the perfect comfort food all ways round!
As you’ve probably gathered I am very keen on herbs in all forms – and this recipe is so delicious! Rosemary is an evergreen perennial so it’s hard to kill off. Even in the depths of winter, I can scurry outside and snip off an aromatic sprig to use in lots of different dishes. Just bruise the leaves slightly and that wonderful scent fills the air…
Sliced thinly, this herb bread is delicious with cheese or soup for a light meal.
Makes one loaf
You will need:
1 packet (7g/¼ oz) dried fast action yeast
170g/6oz wholemeal flour
170g/6oz self-raising flour
2 tbsp butter, plus more to grease bowl and tin
60ml/2fl oz warm water (45ºC/110ºF)
250ml/8fl oz milk (room temperature)
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp sesame seeds
1 tbsp dried chopped onion
1 tbsp fresh rosemary leaves, plus more to decorate
115g/4oz cubed Cheddar cheese
Coarse salt to decorate
1. Mix the fast-action yeast with the flours in a large mixing bowl. Melt the butter. Stir in the warm water, milk, sugar, butter, salt, sesame seeds, onion and rosemary. Knead thoroughly until quite smooth.
2. Flatten the dough, then add the cheese cubes. Quickly knead them in until they have been well combined.
3. Place the dough in a clean bowl, greased with a little butter, turning it so that it becomes greased on all sides. Cover with a clean, dry cloth. Put the greased bowl and dough in a warm place for about 1½ hours, or until the dough has risen and doubled in size.
4. Grease a 23 x 13cm (9 x 5 in) loaf tin with the remaining butter. Knock down the dough to remove some of the air and shape it into a loaf. Put the loaf into the tin, cover with the clean cloth used earlier and leave for about 1 hour until doubled in size onece again. Preheat the oven to 190ºC/375ºF/gas 5.
5. Bake for 30 minutes. During the last 5-10 minutes of baking, cover the loaf with silver foil to prevent it from becoming too dark. Remove from the loaf tin and leave to cool on a wire rack. Decorate with rosemary leaves and coarse salt scattered on top.
PS. Rosemary is another one of my ‘essential’ herbs that I’d put alongside bay, parsley and mint, as already mentioned. I’m plan to be blogging quite a bit about growing herbs over the coming months…