Homemade Herbed Bread: Whole Wheat Bread with Oregano

| October/November 2011

  • Photo by Howard Lee Puckett

Whether you make this bread from store-bought whole wheat flour or from whole wheat flour you’ve ground yourself at home, the results should yield a warm, delicious, sweet-smelling loaf of bread. If you prefer a lighter loaf, substitute one or two cups of unbleached white bread flour for the whole wheat flour. Any way you look at it, the secret to a good, light loaf of bread is kneading to develop the gluten strands fully. Because I love the smell and flavor of freshly ground wheat, I often make the bread with no additions, but you can add any herb that appeals to you. An aromatic fresh herb butter or freshly made jam puts the icing on the cake. MAKES 2 (9-INCH) LOAVES

• 2 cups whole wheat flour
• 1 cup all-purpose flour
• 1 tablespoon sugar
• 2 teaspoons instant yeast*
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 11⁄4 cups water
• 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
• 1⁄3 cup fresh oregano, coarsely chopped

1. Place whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, sugar, yeast and salt in a food processor bowl; pulse 3 to 4 times until combined.

2. Add water and oil; process until dough forms a ball and leaves sides of bowl, adding more water, if necessary. Process about 45 seconds.

3. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, gradually kneading in oregano. Shape into a ball. Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl, turning to oil top. Cover bowl with waxed paper and a kitchen towel. Let rise in a warm place (85 degrees) about 1 hour, or until doubled in bulk.

4. Punch dough down and shape into a loaf. Place in a lightly greased 9- by 5-inch loaf pan. Cover with waxed paper and a kitchen towel. Let rise in a warm place (85 degrees) free from drafts, about 45 minutes or until nearly doubled in size.

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