Ingredients for Honey, Thyme Bread
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 cups white all-purpose flour (approx.)
3 cups brown all-purpose flour (approx.)
3-6 sprigs of thyme
How To Make This Honey, Thyme Bread:
1. Dissolve the yeast in the water. Add 1/2 cup of white all-purpose flour. Let it sit in a warm place, until the yeast begins to bubble
2. Stir in the honey, oil, and salt.
3. Add the thyme and the remaining flour, alternating between white and brown, a cup at a time, until the dough has formed a shaggy mass. You will not need all the flour.
4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter. Knead the dough, adding more flour as necessary, to form a smooth and satiny ball.
5. Put the dough into a bowl and drizzle with a tablespoon of oil; turn the dough to coat it with the oil.
6. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise until it is puffy (approximately 1 1/2 hours).
7. Gently deflate the dough by punching it down.
8. Divide the dough in half and form each half into a ball. Place the balls on a greased baking sheet.
9. Cover the loaves with damp towels and let rise until swollen (approximately 30-45 minutes).
10. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
11. Sprinkle flour on top of the loaves, and use a serrated knife to slash three lines in the top of each loaf (about 1″ deep).
12. Bake the loaves for 35-45 minutes, until they are well browned and their internal temperature measures 190°F on an instant-read thermometer (they will sound hollow when thumped on the bottom)
13. Let the loaves sit for at least 20 minutes before cutting.
Me, Ranting and Raving:
My aforementioned scone-a-thon has given way to bread bonanza, meaning I’ve kinda been obsessed with making loaves of bread over the last few weeks. This honey, thyme bread was just one of the many loaves I’ve made. I made this particular loaf for a dinner party I threw last thursday. Unfortunately, I didn’t make the bread early enough, and ended up taking it out of the oven only partially cooked. I gotta admit, it was pretty delicious that way, but not at all what I was aiming for. I made the thyme bread again on the weekend, when one of my dinner party companions came over for lazy Saturday afternoons chills. It was even more delicious (although my friend Mo didn’t agree) when fully cooked.
There is no better smell than this thyme bread coming out of the oven. It smells like a fresh bakery and (I imagine, because I’ve never been) Italy and freshly baked herbs all rolled into one thoroughly browned and airy ball. It tastes delicious too, a little sweet and slightly earthy. It’s the perfect bread to serve alongside a cheese plate, but can also be ceremoniously dipped into any hearty stew and will function as the perfect foundation for a turkey sandwich.
I first tried making bread, maybe a year and a half ago. The first time I made it, the score I cut into it was so deep that the bread came out looking totally mangled, like four weird interconnected triangles. Despite my ineptitude, I was instantly obsessed. I mean, I’ve always preferred baking to cooking, but took up cooking a few years ago because the amount of cupcakes I was eating was becoming dangerous. Bread is fun, because it can provide good healthy dinner appropriate food, and involves baking. Plus, I loved watching it rise, only to be deflated and rise again, before being baked.
Will you be making this Rustic and Homey Honey, Thyme Bread? Will you make any substitutions?