Crazy Jar Lady
So many of my recipes make loads of food. Even the regular bread recipe makes two large loaves or 3 small ones. This is far more than Handsome and I can finish in a few days. I really don't enjoy bread that's been previously frozen.
I went searching for a recipe that would be something different and found this one on allrecipes.com. Of course, I cannot leave well enough alone and had to tweak it. Thyme isn't something I use often; turns out we enjoy it! Rosemary can taste like a pine tree in excess. Too much parsley can taste like grass. I do use heaping measures of the herbs in this recipe. They are really tasty and well distributed throughout the dough. I keep bulk yeast on hand and use that instead of packaged yeast. (1 packet equals 2 1/4 teaspoons. I just use 2 heaping teaspoons.)
This Herbed Batter Bread recipe was originally a no knead recipe; I enjoy kneading the dough. It's a single small loaf so there isn't much to it, nor is there much mess left on the counter from the kneading.
My Aunt taught me how to make bread. When you have the time to devote to the rising of the dough, it's worth the effort to go ahead and make fresh bread. I use her method whenever I make any type of raised yeast dough:
Start out with your baby-bottle warm liquid. Add in the yeast and the sugar. Stir together and set aside to let the yeast "bloom". It will make little clumps and rise to the top of the liquid. This not only ensures that your yeast is still active (alive), but also gets it started multiplying so the dough will rise faster. Yeast always need something sweet in the dough to grow on.
Put your dry ingredients into the bowl. In this recipe, the herbs are considered a dry ingredient. Salt is always needed in a yeast bread recipe as it moderates the overgrowth of yeast and keeps you from having run away bubbles. Most recipes have a little bit of fat, this one uses butter, and that must be liquid to mix in. Add the fat to the mixing bowl. Add in your sponge and mix all together. Don't worry about getting everything totally homogenous. Some leftover flour is okay and will mix in while kneading.
Lightly flour your clean countertop. Turn the mixture out onto the floured area. Turn the dough a quarter turn with your left hand at the same time you pull up the righthand corner with your right hand. (If you are left-handed, do this motion the opposite direction.) Keep up this same motion for several turns. Your dough will become very smooth and everything will have mixed in to where you don't see individual ingredients except the herbs.
Grease the bowl, it doesn't need to be washed since you already mixed the dough in it, and place the dough into it. Make a mental note or take a pic of the dough in the bowl so you know what size it was when you started. Grease the top of the dough and place plastic wrap or a damp towel overtop of the bowl. (I use nonstick spray for the greasing. Use what you prefer.) Let rise in a warm spot until the dough is visibly doubled in size. (My house is cold, I turn the oven on warm, or bake something, and set the bowl right in front of the oven vent. And I forgot to take a picture of this.)
Reach into the bowl and push down the dough, it will be very spongy and soft. Pick up the corner of the dough and fold it to the middle, then the next corner and then the next until the dough is back to a firm texture and all the edges are pulled into the center. Turn the dough over so the pretty side is up.
Grease the pan you've chosen to bake the dough in. (I use a small casserole dish for this recipe.) Place the dough in the pan with the smooth side up. Grease the top of the dough again and tent the dish with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise until almost doubled. In this case, it will be rounded nicely above the lip of the pan.
Slash the top of the dough with a sharp knife or razor blade. This dough bakes at 375 degrees until the internal temperature is 190 degrees. I've never been good at the "sounding hollow" method of bread baking so I just use the thermometer.
This recipe is great with soups and stews, anything Italian and makes fantastic morning toast! You could also make this recipe without the herbs or change up the herbs for different uses.