Bake up Herbal Breads for the Smell of Home

Susan Belsinger talks about why you should bake up herbal breads for the smell of home to warm you in fall and winter.

Foccacia rosemary bread made with herbs from the garden.

Foccacia rosemary bread made with herbs from the garden.

PHOTO: FOTOLIA/ARENAPHOTOUK

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Bake up herbal breads for the smell of home during fall and winter months.

Bake up Herbal Bread Recipes

Foccacia Rosemary Bread Recipe
Homemade Biscuits With Chives and Parmesan Recipe
Maple Scones With Lemon Verbena Recipe
Skillet Cheddar Cornbread Recipe
Steamed Bread Recipe
Rustic Savory Wheat Bread Recipe


Indian Naan (Leavened Bread)

During the fall and winter months, we turn inward, seeking comfort and contentment in the warmth of our homes. We want heartier seasonal foods, and life revolves around the warmth of the kitchen. So turn on your ovens and treat your family to some good old-fashioned aromatherapy – bake up herbal breads for the smell of fresh-baked bread. Capture the essence of savory and sweet herbs in your bread, fill the house with mouthwatering scents and savor the flavor of these easy-to-make breads. Even the staff of life can be enhanced with the flavor of culinary herbs.

Bread dough and batters are ideal for capturing the aroma and flavor of herbs. When herbs are combined with other ingredients and baked, the resulting breads are infused with herbal essence. Fresh herbs will provide the best aroma and taste – they have a bouquet that dried herbs tend to lose. However, dried herbs do work well in baked goods. It is good to reconstitute them a bit by adding them to the liquid in the recipe and letting them infuse while you are getting the rest of the ingredients ready. The recipes linked above call for fresh herbs; if you are substituting dried herbs, use about one-third to one-half of the amount called for. For example, if the recipe calls for 3 tablespoons of fresh chopped basil leaves, you would use 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons of dried basil leaves, and crumble them into the liquid.

Yeast breads take a little more time to make, since they have to rise once or twice, but this easily can be done in between indoor or outdoor chores, fixing meals or during your daily routine. I often mix up a batch of dough at night and let it rise slowly overnight in the refrigerator. Then, the next day, I remove it from the fridge, punch it down, let it rise again as it comes to room temperature and it’s ready to bake. Most of the quick breads can bake while lunch or dinner is being prepared. Scones and biscuits are so quick and easy to make, my girls or I often will whip up a batch for breakfast or if friends drop by for tea.

Think about using your favorite herbs the next time you make biscuits or muffins or get ready to use your bread machine. The combinations and variations are infinite, and using herbs to flavor your breads, whether they are leavened with yeast, sourdough, baking powder or baking soda, will be a never-ending taste experience.