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Herb Bread Experiment – Mint Basil Swirl Bread and Bee Balm Bread

As you may know I have a bit of a penchant for obscure herbs. I have been looking for a herb bread recipe and tried these two recipes today, which I modified from these recipes: herb swirl bread and bee balm bread. We used Mint Basil (a mint variety that that has a basil like flavor) for the first loaf and bee balm bergamot for the second loaf, both from our garden

Ingredients:

Mint Basil Swirl Bread

1 1/4 cups of warm water
1 pack Edmonds Instant Dry Yeast
1 teaspoon white sugar
3 cups plain white flower
pinch of salt
1 cup of fresh mint basil leaves
4 cloves of garlic
generous sprinkiing of MasterFoods Garlic and Herb Salt
1/3 cup of olive oil

Bee Balm Bread

1  1/2 cups water
2 Tablespoons honey
1 pack Edmonds Instant Dry Yeast
1 cup bee balm bergamot leaves and petals
4 1/3 cups plain white flour
pinch of salt
15 grams melted butter

Mint basil in our garden

Instructions:

Combine warm water, yeast and sugar or honey in a bowl and leave for 5 minutes until yeast becomes foamy.

Put flour, salt and bee balm bergamot leaves and petals if relevant in a bowl and make a well in the middle. Add the yeast mixture and melted butter if relevant and combine until the dough comes together. We do this in a food processor with a dough attachment, but you can also do it in a bowl or a bread machine.

Kneed the dough for about 15 minutes. We do this by hand, but you could also do with a bread machine if you have one.

Cover the dough and leave in a warm spot to rise for about 1 hour or until dough doubles in size.

Mint Basil Swirl Bread:

Place mint basil, garlic, garlic and herb salt, and olive oil in a food processor and blend together. Preheat the oven to 220°C (428°F).

Roll the dough out with a rolling pin until it is about 30-40cm around. Spread the mint basil mixture over the bread. Roll up the bread with the mint basil mixture inside. Brush the outside of the bread with some of the remaining mint basil mixture. Leave the bread for another 30 minutes to rise futher. Preheat the oven to 220°C (428°F).

Bake at 220°C (428°F) for 10 minutes, turn the oven down to 180°C (356°F) and bake for a further 20 minutes. Allow bread to cool and then enjoy.

Bee Balm Bread:

Preheat the oven to 190°C (374°F). Precut the bread into 12 pieces. Bake the bread to 40 minutes.

Bee balm bergamot in our garden

What the kids can do:

Hand washing: Don’t forget to get the kids (and grownups too of course) to wash their hands before you start. Little hands always seem to end up touching everything, including the ingredients. This is extra important given the current Covid-19 situation. For good 20 second hand wash, have them sing “happy birthday to me” twice.

Mixing the ingredients: My daughter likes to help using the food processor to mix all the ingredients. Bear in mind that little hands can fit down the shoot of the food processor, so always supervise this step. The advantage of using the food processor for combing the bread ingredients is that it minimises the mess, at least until you need to kneed the bread.

Kneeding: It is likely the kids won’t be keen to kneed the bread for the whole 15 minutes required. But you can give them part of the bread to kneed, at least until they lose interest.


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