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Garlic Herb Swirled Bread

I always love “springing ahead” every spring with daylight savings time. While I don’t always love losing an hour to my day, I love how it gets darker later, and the days start to get longer. That, combined with the 60 degree temperature and the over-abundant sunshine that we had today, it feels like maybe, just maybe, that spring is on the way!

Despite all this beautiful weather, I’ve lived in Western PA far too long to know that it won’t last, and we’ll be back down to the 40′s by the end of the week. So what do I do when it’s cold and miserable out? I bake.

I enjoy spending leisurely afternoons in the kitchen, and when I have ample time, making something more time consuming like yeast breads, bagels or a decadent dessert. I wanted to make a savory bread to use for leftover meatloaf sandwiches, so I found a standard white bread recipe, and jazzed it up with some butter, garlic and herbs. It came out wonderful, adds an extra kick to your standard sandwich, and is great as a panini or even grilled cheese.

Garlic Herb Swirled Bread

Yields: 1 loaf

Ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon active-dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 – 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil

Directions:

Into the bowl of an electric mixer, add the water, then sprinkle the yeast into the water. Let stand for 5 minutes until the yeast is dissolved. Using the paddle attachment, stir in the milk, sugar and salt. Add in 1/2 cup flour until the dough comes together in a loose, lumpy batter.

Continue adding flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until the dough is no longer sticky. Switch to the dough hook and knead the dough for 8-10. You can also knead by hand, if you wish. Add additional flour if necessary. Continue to knead the dough until it is smooth, feels slightly tacky, and the dough springs back when poked.

In a clean mixing bowl, spray the bowl with non-stick spray and add the dough to the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, and let the dough rise in a warm spot until doubled in bulk, about one hour. Meanwhile, combine the softened butter with the herbs and set aside.

After the dough has raised, turn the dough onto a floured countertop. Use a rolling pin to stretch the dough into a large rectangle. Spread the butter-herb mixture generously along the surface of the dough. Starting at a short end, tightly roll the dough into a roll. Place the dough into a loaf pan, cover, and let raise until double in size, about 1 hour.

Heat the oven to 425° F about halfway through the second rise.

Transfer to loaf to the oven, then turn down the heat to 375°F and bake for 30-35 minutes. Finished loaves will be dark golden-brown and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. Remove the loaf from the pans and let it cool completely before slicing.

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