New Year, New (Herb Garlic) Party Bread

We are far enough into the new year that I figure some of you have begun to backslide on that resolution to cut carbs.

What better time to feature a new recipe for party bread?

I have two recipes in the files, one for a party bread made with capicola and cheese; the other mostly the same, except, it is made with pepperoni and cheese.

This one is just bread and herbs.

But…

the herbs are courtesy of this kinda cool flour blend from King Arthur Flour that I got for a Christmas gift (thx, Jenny!).

This nifty little bag contains flour blended with chives, onion, garlic, and parsley, and, by adding 1/4 to one cup of it to your regular bread recipe, you turn plain to rather nicely herbed. I opted for party bread in this case, but think of the possibilities!

Calzone? Sure!

Pizza dough? Why not!

INGREDIENTS
•1/2 cup Seasoned Flour Mix
•2 cups regular flour + up to 1 cup more*
•1/3 cup warm (110º) water
•1 tsp sugar
•2-1/4 tsp dry yeast
•1 cup milk
•2 tbsp melted butter
•1 tsp salt
•Olive oil (for the rising bowl)

*This batch on this day took 1/2 cup + two tablespoons (5/8 cup) to come together; but bread dough depends on the weather, so you might want to keep up to one cup (eight tablespoons) of flour on the side.

Whisk the 1/2 cup of the seasoned flour into two cups of all-purpose flour in a bowl and set aside.

No seasoned flour? No problem! Add 1/2 to one teaspoon each of dried chives, parsley, onion powder and garlic powder.

Ermmm, and whatever other herbs or spices you may like. That’s the cool thing of making your own stuff, it can be just the way you like it. You could even substitute up to 1/2 cup of whole wheat or rye flour for the seasoned flour.

Stir the yeast and the sugar into the warm water in a measuring cup and set aside for five or ten minutes, until it is nice and foamy (see the picture to the right).

Place the milk, melted butter, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the blade hook, then stir in the yeast.

Add the seasoned flour mixture and turn the mixer on low – I had my Cuisinart set on speed two or three.

With the mixer running, add additional flour in one tablespoon increments until the dough comes together and cleans the side of the bowl.

Increase the mixer speed to medium and knead the dough for seven minutes.

Note: of course, you can do all of this by hand; stirring the dough together, then kneading it on a lightly floured board, but, if you have the mixer, why not use it?

Once the dough has been well and truly kneaded (by machine or hand) turn it into a lightly oiled bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, then set aside in a warm spot for an hour or so, until the dough has risen to double its original size.

As always, remember that you are the boss of that dough! Dough look ready, but the cat is taunting the dog and Amazon is unloading a bigger-than-you-thought wine fridge (on a crate!) into your garage because they won’t bring it up the stairs?

No worries! That dough will still be there, and fine, if you cannot handle it just now.

Take a deep breath, mebbe a glass of wine, relax…

then, when you do have the chance, heat your oven to 400º and punch that dough down like you mean it.

Divide the dough in half, then roll out on a lightly floured board into two logs about four inches shorter than the party bread tubes.

Apply cooking spray to two party bread tubes, then insert each bread roll into one.

Fit the lids on each tube and bake for 60 to 70 minutes.

Remove from the oven and pop out of the party bread tubes to cool on a rack.

Stash the cooled bread in a sealed zipper bag or bread box until needed, then slice thin and serve with whatever spread you like. Hot ham dip is a nice option, as is the dirty martini cheese spread.

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