Bake Bread with Herbs
Time Required: Under 2 hours
Getting back to baking after a hot summer is one of the great joys of fall. You can enjoy both the bounty of your garden and the fun of baking when you combine freshly picked herbs and a classic bread, the rustic French fougasse.
Presented by Fiskars
Start by gathering herbs in the garden. Take your Fiskars PowerGear2 pruners with you. You’ll need them to clip several 6- or 8-inch-long stems of fresh rosemary. The pruners cut the woody stems easily, and their sharp blades make a clean cut, so the plant will not be damaged.
Take a few cuttings of oregano, too. Cut long stems so you’ll have plenty of leaves to sprinkle over the top of your fougasse. Even though some herbs have sticky stems, the coated blades of the pruners resist residue build-up.
Harvest the thin, spindly stems of thyme with Fiskars Micro-Tip snips. These snips are sharp and comfortable to work with and have a thumb-control lock to protect you and the blades while they are not in use.
See the fougasse recipe at the end of this article to get the dough started. After your bread dough has risen once, cut it into two equal pieces and shape each loaf into a tall triangle about half an inch thick. Allow the dough to rest for half an hour. Then, create a design. Lightly oil the blades of your Fiskars shears using a paper towel or pastry brush.
To make a simple leaf pattern, start by cutting the dough through the center. The shears cut through the bread dough without sticking and without pulling the dough out of shape. Make a sharp cut all the way through, and then cut a few slanted lines on both sides.
Now brush the top of the loaf with olive oil, and use the shears again to cut a shower of herbs. After you’re finished, the shears come apart easily for cleaning and then snap back together.
Makes: 1 loaf
Bake time: 18 minutes, 450 degrees
- 3 1/4 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon instant-rise yeast
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- For the top of loaves: olive oil, fresh herbs, salt
1. In a large bowl, mix the ingredients together. Knead the dough for a couple of minutes, adding a little more flour if the dough is sticky and form the dough into a ball. Pour a little olive oil into the bowl and roll the dough around in it, then allow it to rise, covered, for two hours or even overnight.
2. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured countertop. Cut it in half, and shape each half into a tall triangle about half an inch thick and 6 inches on a side. Allow the loaves to rest for about 30 minutes.
3. Set a pizza stone on the lower middle rack of the oven, and pre-heat the oven to 450 degrees. Line two cookie sheets or pizza stones with parchment paper, and dust the paper with cornmeal.
4. With a rolling pin, gently roll each loaf into a triangle with 10-inch sides and an 8-inch-wide base. Place each loaf on the parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Now cut your design in the loaves with the shears, starting with a long cut up the center of the triangles.
5. Stretch the dough with your fingers to open up the cuts, so the loaves bake quickly and evenly. Brush each loaf with olive oil and snip fresh herbs over the tops of the loaves. Finally, sprinkle with salt.
6. Bake one loaf at a time, sliding each loaf (with the parchment paper) onto to the pizza stone. If you don’t have a pizza stone, bake on the cookie sheet. Bake for about 18 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.