I am obsessed with this Rosemary Kalamata French Bread I shared with you awhile back. I've made it twice since and it is just perfection. I enjoyed a slice of it with some scrambled eggs for breakfast when inspiration struck. I love adding Herbs de Provence to my scrams and knew those same herbs would be outrageous in this most perfect of breads.
And so I began making this recipe for a fourth time. I started with the traditional HdP mix:
If you can't read the labels in the photos, I used savory, marjoram, oregano, rosemary, thyme, and dried lavender. I used ALL of each of the 5 green ones and a little more than a tablespoon of the lavender buds. I've lamented with friends before that, though I LOVE fresh herbs, I loathe the tedious process of removing them off of their stems. Other than the lavender, I prepped all of these herbs. It took me for fucking ever to do, and I grumbled along the way, but I knew the final product would be worth it. (Spoiler: it is.)
I ran a pair of kitchen shears through the whole mix to slightly break down the larger pieces, but otherwise kept everything whole. Primarily this was for full flavor permeation and a rustic look to the final bread, but I was also so friggin tired of working on the herbs at that point. Laziness doesn't always taste better, but it rocked in this case.
If you don't want to click back to the original post, I mixed 4 cups all purpose flour, 1 teaspoon active dry yeast, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 1/2 cups warm water with the dough hook in my Kitchenaid. Once it all started to come together, I dumped in the herbs. After about 8 - 10 minutes mixing on low, I removed the hook and covered the bowl with plastic wrap.
Plop this somewhere dark and come back four hours later. It will expand into this:
Roll it around on a lightly floured countertop and shape it into a ball. Oh, update! In the original recipe, I have you simply put the ball of dough into a lightly oiled Dutch oven. That was great but the bottom crust was too dark for my liking, almost black. In my subsequent executions of this recipe, I put a piece of Parchment paper on the bottom, then add a bit of oil, then add the bread. The bottom crust comes out PERFECT. I highly recommend this twist to the recipe. Let it sit in the Dutch oven on the counter for another 30 minutes or so, slice an X on the top, and bake. You bake at 450° with the lid on for 30 minutes, then remove the lid and reduce the heat to 375° for another 15 or so minutes.
This is a thing of beauty. The time it took to pluck all of the herbs? Beyond worth it the second you catch a whiff of this aromatic, fresh and fragrant bread.
And you want to keep eating it. And eating it. And eating it. And your husband calls to you from the other room and you can't answer him because your mouth is stuffed full of herbaceous, doughy, hot from the oven bread. And you wonder if you REALLY have to share the rest of the loaf with him or save it for future use.
You save it. Breakfasts are better because of Herbs de Provence toast. Soups are better because you dip Herbs de Provence bread into them.
Make this bread. Make it with herbs, make it with olives, make it with sun dried tomatoes, make it with roasted garlic cloves, make it plain Jane. I just beg of you - make it. You will never be the same again.