Friday, March 7, 2014

Herb Batter Bread


What's your favorite tongue twister? I'm a fan of the "One Smart Fellow" classic: One smart fellow, he felt smart. Two smart fellows, they felt smart. Three smart fellows, they felt smart. (Sheesh, that's even hard to type!) Then there's my husband's favorite: One-one was a racehorse. Two-two was one, too. One-one won one race. Two-two won one, too. Tongue twisters pretty much guarantee laughs (though I try to stay away from the more dangerous ones, like the one about the fig plucker...). When I taught German years ago, I would start first day of the semester with an icebreaker: the students had to practice saying German Zungenbrecher ("tongue breakers") like Brautkleid bleibt Brautkleid und Blaukraut bleibt Blaukraut. Hilarious, right? ....right? 

The reason I bring all this up is that the other day I made this tasty Herb Batter Bread, and every time I think about it, I think of the old Betty Batter tongue twister. Come to find out (thanks, Wikipedia) the original verse was published in 1899 in The Jungle Book and read as follows:


Betty Botter bought some butter;
"But," said she, "this butter's bitter!
If I put it in my batter
It will make my batter bitter.
But a bit of better butter
Will but make my batter better."
Then she bought a bit of butter
Better than the bitter butter,
Made her bitter batter better.
So ´twas better Betty Botter
bought a bit of better butter.


Thankfully, this delicious bread is much easier on your tongue than articulating Betty Botter's butter mishaps. (Get it together, Betty Botter!) And incidentally, it's not bitter AND delicious with butter. As someone who doesn't own a bread machine, I'm always thrilled when I find a loaf bread that doesn't require bread flour and can be whipped up quickly without kneading and proofing and punching and whatever else you're supposed to do to most yeast breads. And it's wonderfully versatile--the fresh herbs make it a lovely accompaniment to a homestyle soup, a unique choice for a sandwich, or a breakfast simply toasted with butter. I guess what I'm trying to say is:

It's sumptuous served on a sandwich or slurped sopping with soup

and

It's a boon of a bread to be dotted with butter. No bitter batter in this herb batter bread--believe me, it's better than bakery bread!


Herb Batter Bread
(Adapted from Betty Crocker's Cookbook, Bridal Edition)

Ingredients:

2 3/4 c. all-purpose flour, divided
1 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 .25 oz. package active dry yeast
1 1/4 c. warm water
2 Tbsp. olive oil
3 tsp. dried parsley
2 Tbsp. fresh rosemary (or about 3/4 tsp. dried)
1 Tbsp. fresh thyme (or about 1/2 tsp. dried)
1/2 tsp. garlic powder

Directions:

1. Grease a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan. 

2. In a large bowl, combine 2 c. flour, salt, sugar, and yeast. Add in the water, olive oil, herbs, and garlic powder. Stir vigorously until thoroughly combined. Add remaining 3/4 c. flour a little bit at a time and mix until completely incorporated. Spread batter evenly in prepared pan. Cover loosely and let rise in a warm place for about 40 minutes.

2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake 40-45 minutes or until loaf sounds hollow when tapped. 

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