Monday, October 22, 2012

Soup Night with Freshly Baked Herbed Bread

Now that Fall is here, we have Soup Night at least once a week. Homemade Chicken Soup and Healthier Clam Chowder are two of our favorites and make it into the rotation pretty frequently. My family gets REALLY excited about Soup Night when I serve this freshly baked Herb Garlic Bread alongside it. 

Soup and bread can be a very economical meal. It costs me less than $1 to make two loaves of this delicious bread. As for the soup, I usually don't spend more than $5 for a batch. For our family, having a weekly Soup Night is a great way to help keep our grocery budget lower. However, to make homemade bread you do need to plan ahead since the dough takes about 3 hours to prepare.

Herb Garlic Bread
slightly adapted from Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer Recipe Booklet

1 package active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup warm water
3 cups all-purpose flour (or half all-purpose and half white whole wheat flour)
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon fresh garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup cold water
1 egg
1 teaspoon water

In a Pyrex measuring cup, heat up 1/4 cup water in the microwave until warm. Add yeast and sugar, and stir to dissolve.

In a KitchenAid mixer bowl, combine flour (or flours) with basil, oregano, thyme, and salt with the dough hook attachment. Add the yeast mixture and the cold water and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic.

Place in a greased bowl, turn dough ball to coat with oil, and cover. Allow to rise at room temperature until about doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Remove all the air bubbles by punching the down dough on a lightly floured surface. Divide into two parts, and shape each loaf into a long 12-inch loaf. Place each loaf on a parchment lined pan with plenty of space in between. Make 3 shallow slits on a diagonal across the top of each loaf.

Combine the egg and teaspoon of water in a small bowl. Brush the top of the loaves. Spray some plastic wrap with nonstick spray or oil and lightly cover the loaves. Allow to rise until doubled in size again, about 1 hour.

Brush each loaf again with egg mixture. Bake at 450 degrees for 15-18 minutes or until golden brown. Cool loaves on wire racks.

For other meal ideas that cost $10 or less, stop by Life as MOM for Ultimate Recipe Swap on Thursday. Also, VineSleuth Uncorked has a great ebook for Dinner & Wine for $20 or Less! Each of the recipes in the book can be made for about $5.

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