After two consecutive weekends making sourdough bread using recipes that took literally days to complete, I was transfixed by this little gem while paging through the new King Arthur Flour catalog with my morning coffee: a recipe for French Herb Bread. It wasn’t just that I had recently stumbled across an adorable little bag of Herbes de Provence in my pantry (a souvenir of a French vacation–sadly, not mine). It was that the whole kit and kaboodle went into the mixing bowl in one go and would come out of the oven just a few short hours later. I was smitten, and the butter wasn’t even melting on the bread yet.
By 8:15 a.m., it was measured and mixed and proofing in the oven. By lunchtime, there was toast and by 11 p.m. there was still time for just one more slice before bed, with no one else the wiser. Good thing it’s a quick mix.
French Herb Bread
from King Arthur Flour
1 1/4 cups warm water
2 T olive oil
3 cups (12 3/4 ounces) AP Flour
2 T nonfat dry milk
1/2 cup dried potato flakes
2 T herbes de Provence
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. instant yeast
Place warm water and yeast into a bowl or stand mixer. Stir to dissolve. Add remaining ingredients and mix, then knead, by hand or by dough hook. Mine was soft and light, but not sticky. Place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover, and let rise for one hour.
After the first rise is complete, deflate dough and shape into a loaf. Place in a lightly oiled 9″ x 5″ loaf pan, cover loosely with greased plastic wrap, and allow to rise again until it has crowned about an inch over the rim of the pan. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350°F. My second rise took no more than 30 minutes, so don’t delay getting your oven to temperature.
Bake the bread for 35 to 40 minutes. Remove from pan and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.