Saturday, January 26, 2013

Red Onion - Basil Bread

Hello, hello!  I'm determined not too get sidelined from blogging anymore!  Determined, determined, determined, determ--

Anyhow, that sickness that I was complaining about over Christmas turned out to be bacterial bronchitis, which landed me on my derriere for way too long.  Then when I thought I was finally done with that, I decided to smash my finger in the car door.  As we "speak" I am wearing a splint on my right index finger and have nerve damage and loss of feeling.  So, typing is terribly slow.  For those of you that pray, I would love prayer for feeling in my finger.  Aaaannnddd, G's and my birthdays also took place.  The first time I didn't post anything about them; that should tell you something.  I will be making the rounds to your blogs as well.  I'm looking forward to seeing all that you guys have been up to.

But, I'm back with a yummy recipe!  One of G's coworkers brought him some basil from her garden a while back, and I decided to make bread with it. I made four loaves and gave her one of the loaves as a thank you.  The technique for baking is based on my Basic White Bread recipe.  (Sheesh, maybe I should dictate to one of my girls.  Typing this is taking a long time.)  This bread turned out really yummy, and all of the Blessings loved it, even with the onions in it.  I could use much less salt here because of the wonderful flavors of the red onion and basil.  Please note that with the Basic White Bread, I used rapid rise yeast, but I'm using active dry here, so the mixing step will be different. 

Red Onion - Basil Bread

The herb mixture

The risen dough

The dough shaped for rolling to fit into its pan

Four loaves hot out of the oven!

Red Onion - Basil Bread


Makes four loaves
Four large bowls
In each bowl you will eventually need:
5 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 of the herb mix listed below
2 1/2 tsp, of active dry yeast or one packet prepared active dry yeast
4 Tbs. warm water
2 cups cold water

Herb mix:
1 small or medium red onion, minced
1/2 cup, packed, fresh basil, chopped
2 Tbs. salt

Extra flour for kneading 
Non-stick spray


In a medium bowl, stir together the herb mix ingredients well.  In each of the large bowls, pour in the flour and one quarter of the herb mix.  Whisk together thoroughly.  Create a small well with the back of a spoon in the bottom of each bowl.  In a small bowl, whisk together the yeast and warm water and pour in the center of the first bowl.  Repeat for each bowl.  Let sit for ten minutes, until the yeast starts to react and gets frothy.  Spoon a small amount of the bowl's flour into the yeast well and stir.  Add one cup of the cold water to the center and mix in more flour.  Add the last cup of water and stir all the ingredients together as best as you can.  It's okay if it's not perfect; you'll finish mixing them up when you knead.  Repeat for the other bowls.  On a floured surface, turn out your bread dough and knead for ten minutes, adding sprinkles of dough, if it gets too sticky.  Wash your bowl out, put the dough back in and cover with a damp dish towel.  Let set for its first rise for two hours.  Repeat with the others.  After two hours, spray four bread loaf pans with non-stick spray.  Punch the dough down in a few spots.  On a floured surface, turn out the dough again and flatten by hand to resemble a large rectangle.  Starting at a short end, roll up the dough until it meets the other end.  Fold the sides slightly under, so it can fit into the loaf pan.  Cover with the towel for another hour and a half for its second rise.  Repeat for the other loaves.  Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.  Remove the towels and sprinkle a dusting of flour down each loaf's center.  Take a sharp knife and slice each loaf down the center about an inch deep.  Bake for fifteen minutes. (Four loaves should fit comfortably in standard ovens.)   Turn the heat down to 400 and bake for another 25 minutes.   Remove each loaf from its pan and put them upside down, directly on the oven's grill.  Bake for another five minutes.  Cool on racks.  After fifteen or so minutes of resting, you can slice into the first one.  The others will freeze great:  just wrap them a couple of times in plastic wrap and then in aluminum foil once they're completely cooled. These are very tasty and savory and are a nice twist on typical bread.  We either toasted the slices or used them to make savory sandwiches.   Feeds five hungry vegans with plenty to share!