~In a large mixing bowl, Combine:

1 1/2 Package of active dry yeast, 2 cups of warm (NOT HOT) water, and 1/2 cup sugar,

(I used brown sugar) and stir until all dry goods dissolved.

~Let the mixture proof (yeast will develop foamy "head" like a beer.  See photo following) for 10-15 minuets, or until head develops. While this is happening I prepare the herbs I intend to use in the bread. Chop finely and wash well before using.

~Sage is nice, I only use fresh grown herbs, because they taste so differently compared with dried packaged herbs.

~Rosemary is also great for adding to a bread to give it some flavor. I think it is imperative to grow your own though.

 ~ Be sure to wash your herbs, especially if you live adjacent to a steel mill.

~ Now that your yeast has proofed, add:

5 cups of flour, 1/4 cup of Olive Oil (optional), and 1 teaspoon sea salt and herbs,

...incorporating ingredients slowly. You may need to adjust the recipe by adding or subtracting flour to achieve the perfect texture of the dough. It should be soft and mailable but not sticky when it is ready to knead...

~ Knead for 10 minuets, or one really good Kraftwerk tune... Put your back into it!

~When your dough is ready to let rise after kneading,  it should look like this...

~ I like to roll some sliced garlic and herbs into the bread before I let it rise, this way, I do not have to do this later and loose the fluffy texture it gains when rising.  Also, you can add some salt and spices here. I like Organic Pacific Sea Salt.

~Separate into loaf sizes and place in a well oiled baking dish (I use Olive Oil), Let sit covered with a dampened cloth for 1 hour. Keep away from cold drafts, and be sure to keep covered so no moisture is lost.

~With 10 minuets remaining for dough to rise, Preheat oven to 375 *

~Bake for 30 minuets, or until golden brown.

Enjoy!!!! Also, its easier to loosen the loafs once the bread has cooled and set for a bit. I let them sit by the window to cool...

Loaf pans by Massimo Vignelli for Heller.
All photos © Douglas Cain 2010.

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