This bread has a nice crispy crust and a very dense crumb. (I love saying things like “a very dense crumb”!) I used a combination of dried herbs and herbs from our garden – sage, rosemary, marjoram, tarragon, basil, oregano, thyme. All lovely!!
At our wedding, instead of a band or a DJ, we made mixed tapes (yes, cassette tapes, children) and played them on a boom box out of a window. The dancing was divine!! Here’s one song we had…Parliament I Been Watching You. We cooled it down with a slow number!!
1/2 cup warm water
1 t yeast
1 t sugar
3 cups flour
2 t salt
A mix of herbs, fresh or dried – as many as you like, about 1/2 to 1 t of each. I used marjoram, basil, sage, rosemary, thyme, tarragon and summer savory, and it was a dynamite combination!!
3 T olive oil
about 1/2 cup extra warm water.
Mix the water, yeast and sugar in a small bowl and set it aside to get foamy.
In a large bowl combine the flour, salt, pepper and herbs. Make a well in the center and add the yeast/water and the olive oil. Stir everything together, and then bring it together with your hands, adding just enough water to make it kneadable. Knead for about 10 minutes, till it’s smooth and elastic.
Put a small dollop of olive oil in a bowl and roll the dough around so it’s all coated. Put it back in your large bowl, cover with a damp cloth, and leave to rise till double in bulk, about 2 hours. Fold it over itself a few times to deflate it. Let rise again for about an hour.
Roll the dough into a sort of snake, and then press it flat. Roll it up along the long side into another snake. Then, seam side down, coil it so that it’s eating its own tail. Seal the seam as best you can. Set it on a baking sheet and press it flat again, and slash it across with a knife, shallowly every couple of inches, to make “rays.” Let it sit for half an hour while you preheat the oven to 500.
Brush the bread with water, and sprinkle a little water on the floor of the oven. Do this two more times, every couple of minutes. Then just let it bake till it’s brown and crispy. A half an hour should do it. It will sound hollow when you tap on the bottom.