I’m taking this one loaf at a time. At least, that’s the plan. Unfortunately, so darn many bread recipes are for two huge, hearty loaves. I can see why that’s convenient, but I live in a post-South Beach diet world. Carbs are sinful indulgences, not our main staple.
Today, I decided to get away from all those dessert breads with a good, sturdy savory loaf. Okay, maybe I also wanted to make some really tasty croutons and therefore knew I needed a solid savory loaf with a lot of flavor. The problem with the “make my own salad croutons” plan is the actual bread is too damn good. If only I wasn’t so talented.
6 cloves garlic, minced
½ tsp thyme
1 tbsp rosemary
1 tbsp kosher salt
1 tbsp yeast
1 cup warm water
2 tbsp white sugar
3 tbsp olive oil
2 ½ cups bread flour
This insanely tasty savory bread is pretty darn easy. Start by mixing your cup of water and tablespoon of yeast in your stand mixer’s bowl. If you don’t have a stand mixer, I pity you. I lived your life once, and it is lacking in meaning and purpose. Save your pennies. This high powered piece of kitchen equipment is worth it. Meanwhile, just mix your yeast and water in a bowl, you poor sad soul.
Let the yeast rehydrate and then frolic for 15 minutes. Now add your olive oil, sugar, minced garlic cloves, rosemary, thyme, and salt. Yes, you really do want that much kosher salt. Those delicious kernels play a huge part in the bread’s flavor.
Give the whole slurry a quick mix. Once vaguely well integrated, dump in the flour. Attach your bread hook and allow it to attack the mix for about 6 minutes. If you don’t own a stand mixer, blend everything together and knead it on a lightly floured surface for 6-10 minutes.
Once you’re either satisfied with the elasticity of your dough or bored with kneading, cove the raw bread in the making and walk away for an hour. When you come back, punch it into submission. Wait another hour. I know you want to hit it again, but be patient. Your time will come. At the two hour mark, punch the dough once more. Man, that felt good. Now shape it into a rough oval and put it in a nicely greased loaf pan.
This isn’t health food. Don’t you dare pretend a teflon pan will prevent your dough from sticking. That is a damn lie. You’re too smart to fall for such ridiculous claims. Either lube your loaf pan up with butter or olive oil. It doesn’t matter which, as long as your bread is about to slide into a porographically slippery hole.
I used a very sharp knife to score the top, but I’m also the kind of fancy pants who owns corsets and top hats. Feel free to skip ahead to the egg wash stage. You really should baste your little loaf in shiny egg goodness. If you don’t, it’ll end up dull and mockable, whereas if you just brush a little egg on the surface, all your friends will make approving noises regarding how good and worthy and downright adorable your bread is. Be shallow. Let your friends judge you on beauty. If you’re feeling extra fancy, go ahead and sprinkle another ½ tsp coarse kosher salt over your shiny, egg washed loaf. You’ll be glad later. Oh, the tastiness.
Let the bread rise for one more hour. I know you’re impatient, but good things come to those who wait. Tasty things. Doughy things. After another hour, pop that loaf pan into a 350F oven for 22 – 25 minutes, depending on your oven’s quirkiness.
Let the bread cool in the pan for at least 10 minutes before you shove it straight into your face. It should be light, fluffy, and nicely herbal.
If you actually want to make homemade croutons instead of inhalably good garlic herb bread, go ahead and double the amount of rosemary, garlic, thyme, and salt. once your bread bakes, leave it alone until it reaches room temperature, then cut it into crouton sized cubes. Let it sit out for at least two days, turning anywhere from 1-4 times a day (depending on how often you remember.) The day you plan to serve the croutons, lightly spritz a pan with olive oil. Spread a single layer of dry bread chunks on top, then spray them all with olive oil. Toast them in a 350F oven for around 7-10 minutes, or until golden brown. Flip the croutons, put them back in the oven, and bake them for another 7-19 minutes. You should end up with some disturbingly delicious salad carb chunks.
If you know you won’t be able to leave one loaf alone, go ahead and double the recipe. Two loaves should give you 1 ½ for scarfing down like a starving plage victim and ½ loaf to turn into croutons. Good luck.
Bitchin’ Bread Battle: Enter the Madness
Bitchin’ Bread Battle Day 1: Nutella Challah
Bitchin’ Bread Battle Day 2: Banana (Catan) Bread
Bitchin’ Bread Battle Day 3: Rosemary Garlic Bread
Bitchin’ Bread Battle Day 4: Ood Rolls
Bitchin’ Bread Battle Day 5: Not Quite King’s Hawaiian Rolls
Bitchin’ Bread Battle Day 6: Make it Dough
Bitchin’ Bread Battle Day 7: Wookie Pull Apart Bread
Bitchin’ Bread Battle Day 8-11: Settlers of Catan Bread Board
Bitchin’ Bread Battle Day 12: How NOT to Make a Sandworm
Bitchin’ Bread Battle Day 13: Valentine’s Day Anatomical Human Heart Pull Apart Bread
Bitchin’ Bread Battle Day 14: Nutella or Cinnamon Roll Hearts
Bitchin’ Bread Battle Day 15: Outback Copycat Bread
Bitchin’ Bread Battle Day 16: Return of the Sandworm
Bitchin’ Bread Battle Day 17: Vegan Popplers
Bitchin’ Bread Battle Day 18: Woodbury Bleeding Zombie Victim Loaf
Bitchin’ Bread Battle Day 19: Alien Xenomorph Pretzel Bread Eggs
Bitchin’ Bread Battle Day 20: Aperture Laboratories Bleeding Summer Strawberry Lemon Bread
Bitchin’ Bread Battle Day 21: Roasted Garlic Bread in Meatloaf Grease
Bitchin’ Bread Battle Day 22: Wonder Woman
Bitchin’ Bread Battle Day 23: Watermelon Bread