This weekends bread bake. Technically I was using the Oreganato recipe. But the only oregano we had when I stated was the powdered variety. I had visons of green bread, So I used basil instead, and it turned out pretty good. I don't know if I've posted this recipe before, so here it is again. Basil worked pretty good. Putting fresh garlic in the dough is good, but the dough may be stickier than expected when it's done proofing. this is one of those breads that taste really good, and you don't have to butter it if you don't want to.
Makes 2 1 ½ pound loaves
8 cups high gluten bread flour or unbleached all purpose flour
¾ cup uncooked polenta
4 teaspoons granulated garlic or 4 tablespoons crushed fresh garlic
6 teaspoons dried parsley flakes or 6 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
4 teaspoons dried oregano or 4 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
2 teaspoons coarsely cracked black pepper
2 tablespoons instant yeast or 2 ½ tablespoons active dry yeast*
2 tablespoons salt, preferably sea salt
2 ¾ to 3 cups of water
*proof active dry yeast in 4 tablespoons of the water
Mix all the dry ingredients including the yeast in a large mixing bowl. Add the water saving some for final adjustments.* Turn the mixture out onto a floured surface and knead for 10 to 12minutes. The dough should be elastic but firm, tacky but not sticky.
Return the dough to the bowl and cover with a damp towel or plastic wrap. You can also put the bowl in a plastic bag. Heck, my bowl is just the right size to put an inverted plated on top and a towel over that. The plate keeps in the moisture and the towel insulates the whole thing.) Allow 1 ½ hours at room temperature for the first rise. If you are using standard loaf pans, shape the dough and put in the pans for the second rise and allow the dough to rise for about an hour. Or you can shape into free form French loaves. Again allow to raise for about an hour.
Bake loaf breads at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes in a standard oven or 300 degrees in a convection oven. For French style loaves spray the loaves with water before putting in the oven and three more times at two minute intervals. Bake for 30 minutes, spray again, turn off the oven and allow the bread to finish baking for ten minutes as the oven cools. Bread is done when a good thwack on the bottom of the loaf gives a hollow sound.
*I tend to start with the liquid ingredients and adjust from the flour side. These are based on commercial recipes, so the emphasis is on keeping the dry ingredients in proportion so that the loaf weights are consistent.