I do so love an herb bread. Thought it was about time to honor the bastard step child of the seed family: celery seeds. In the allergen hall of fame, celery seeds are second only to peanuts. Bet you didn’t know that.
For this recipe, I ground up the herbs with a mortar and pestle. Fun fact number two for this recipe… did you know that Baba Yaga purportedly flew around in a mortar while wielding a pestle? Again, no you did not. And that is why I have the bread blog and you don’t.
I made this recipe and one I haven’t posted yet (Chipotle Pepper & Corn Loaf – not to be confused with cornbread). Both are based on a simple recipe that allows for a lot of experimentation. In both cases, the crumb was airy and soft, perfect for sandwich bread.
Celery Seed Herb Bread
- 1 scant tablespoon (or 1 ¼-ounce package) active dry yeast
- ¼ cup warm water about 110 degrees
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- ¾ cup warm milk about 110 degrees
- 2 tablespoons butter melted
- 1 egg
- 2 teaspoons celery seed
- 2 teaspoons salt
- ½ teaspoon fresh sage
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 3 to 3½ cups unbleached flour
In a large bowl, soften the yeast in the water along with the sugar.
In a 1 cup glass measuring cup, microwave the milk for one minute. Add the butter in thin slices to melt. Add the egg and mix well.
Using a mortar and pestle (Don't have a set? Well, get off your hiney and buy one. A kitchen without a mortar and pestle is literally like a room without a ceramic bowl and a small ceramic club), grind the celery seed, salt, rosemary, and nutmeg.
Add the milk mixture and herb mixture to the yeast in the bowl. Add 3 cups of flour and mix well. I use a bamboo spoon but that's because I'm super fancy. You should probably use a wooden spoon until you're ready. I mean, it could take years of study to graduate to bamboo. Just saying.
Add flour as necessary until the mixture begins to pull away from bowl. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until your arms hurt or 8 minutes, whichever comes first.
Place dough in a well-oiled bowl (because who would use a poorly-oiled bowl?), cover with a tightly knit towel and let rise for about one hour - or until the dough has doubled in size.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly-oiled surface. If you are baking in loaf pans, shape accordingly. I made this recipe in a cloche, so I shaped it into a ball and placed it in a proofing basket. Cover with a towel and let rise another 45 minutes.
15 minutes before you bake, preheat the oven. 375 degrees for loaf pans (bake 20-25 minutes), 450 degrees for the cloche (bake 30 minutes with lid on, then take lid off and bake at 400 for 10 more minutes). In both cases, the bread should be about 190 degrees.
Remove from pans and cool on a rack.