Fields are full and growing this time of year. If you’re lucky to live near farmland, you probably see first crops being cut—hay, clover, and winter wheat. Corn fields are near half grown, and in your own garden you’ve probably been enjoying fresh herbs. We are so lucky to have harvests which will be the sustenance to carry us through winter into next spring.

As a savory reminder of the goodness we have close at hand, I’m sharing a recipe for summer herb bread in this week’s blog. It’s a simple recipe you can turn to as each herb in your garden is ready for drying and grinding. You can even divide up the dough and bake little herb rolls instead of a loaf so you have small snacks ready to pack for outdoor adventures.

However you enjoy the savory bounty of this time of year, may it be easy and relaxed and so yummy!

All my love, always.

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Ingredients and instructions for this recipe are for high elevation baking, as Magic Fairy Candles is located in Colorado. If you are at sea level, increase the yeast to 2 teaspoons total, and your initial rising time for the dough to an hour or more, until doubled in size.

1 1/2 teaspoons dried yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cups unbleached or bread flour
2-3 tablespoons ground, dried herbs of your choice—
we like basil, oregano, rosemary, & thyme
Scant cornmeal for baking sheet

Pour 1/2 cup of warm water in your mixing bowl. Add sugar and yeast. Set aside for 5-10 minutes to allow the yeast to bloom. It’s fun to watch! You’ll see it bubble up.

Once the yeast has bloomed, add 1 cup more of warm water. Add olive oil and salt.

Add flour one cup at a time and combine. Add your ground herbs about halfway through adding the flour. Turn the dough onto your counter and knead. If it is sticky and won’t pull together, add more flour, a tablespoon at a time, until it does. Knead until smooth.

Rub olive oil inside a large bowl. Form your dough into a ball. Place it in the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and set in a warm place to rise until it’s doubled in size—about 40 minutes. Looking for a warm place? Set your bowl in a few inches of warm water in your sink.

After rising, turn the dough onto a floured counter and knead for a minute or two. Shape the dough into a round or oblong shape.

Dust a baking sheet with cornmeal and place your dough on top.

Cover loosely with a light towel or tented foil and let rise for another 40 minutes. Preheat the oven to 450°F.

After the second rise, uncover and slash the top of your dough in a few places, using a sharp knife, razor blade, or scissors. Place your pan in the middle of the hot oven. Bake until golden brown. Depending on your oven and shape of your loaf, this can take 25-40 minutes. If you’d like a crisp crust on the loaf, place a roasting pan on the bottom rack of the oven and pour several cups of hot water into the pan to steam your loaf as it bakes. Resist opening the oven door until approaching the end of the bake.

Serve warm with warmed olives, cheese, and perhaps butter blended with more of your dried herbs! Yum!

Divide your dough into 3” balls and bake at 400°F for 30 minutes for herb rolls instead of a loaf. For using fresh herbs instead of dried, double or triple up the amount of fresh herbs and add after the second rise, as you shape your loaf.

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