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"To cook is to
create. And to create well...is an act of integrity, and faith,"
Herb and Cheese Pot Bread
"The smell of good bread baking, like the sound of
lightly flowing water,
is indescribable in its evocation of innocence and delight..."
- M.F.K. Fisher, The Art of Eating
Recipe of the Day Categories:
Friday, November 10, 2006
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Herb and Cheese Pot Bread
& Wine Archives
“Pot bread, or
potbrood, is traditionally served at braais [South African
barbecues]. It was once baked in a cast-iron
Dutch oven set directly in the
hot ash-gray coals, with more coals piled
on the lid. Today, most South
Africans bake the bread in a conventional
cups warm water (105 to 115 degrees F)
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
5 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic
1/2 cup minced flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons minced scallion greens
2 teaspoons minced rosemary
1 1/2 cups coarsely grated sharp Cheddar cheese (4 1/2 ounces)
ahead: The baked bread can be wrapped and frozen for up to 1 week.
In a bowl, combine the water, yeast and sugar and let stand until foamy,
to 8 minutes. Stir in 2 tablespoons of the olive oil.
In a large bowl, combine the flour and salt; make a well in the center.
Pour in the yeast mixture and stir well with a wooden spoon. Turn the
dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth and
satiny, about 7 minutes. Shape the dough into a ball and transfer it to a
oiled bowl; turn the dough ball to coat it evenly with oil. Cover the bowl
with a damp kitchen towel and let the dough rise in a warm place until
doubled in bulk, about 1 1/2 hours.
Punch down the dough and knead it briefly while it is still in the bowl.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead again
until smooth, 2 to 3 minutes. Return the dough to the bowl and let rest,
uncovered, for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a small skillet, heat the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of olive
oil. Add the garlic and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally,
until softened but not browned, 1 to 2 minutes; set aside. In a small
bowl, combine the parsley, scallion greens and rosemary.
Generously grease a 2 1/2 -quart round cast-iron casserole or a 10-inch
skillet. Cut off a 1/2 -cup-size piece of dough. Using a lightly floured
rolling pin, roll the small piece of dough into a 10- to 12-inch round.
Fit the dough round in the bottom and 1 inch up the side of the prepared
casserole. Roll out the remaining dough to a 22-by-15-inch rectangle.
Spread the garlic evenly over the dough rectangle, leaving a 1-inch
border. Sprinkle the herb mixture on the dough and spread the cheese
evenly on top. Starting with a long side, roll the dough into a log. Cut 1
inch off each end of the log and discard. Cut the log crosswise into 8
equal slices. Set 1 slice on its side in the center of the dough-lined
casserole and arrange the remaining 7 slices around it. Let the dough
rise, uncovered, until it is about 3 inches high, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Bake the bread for 50 to 60 minutes, or until
golden brown on top. Run a knife around the edge of the casserole to
loosen the bread, then turn it out onto a rack. Using a clean kitchen
towel, turn the bread right side up and let cool for 10 to 15 minutes
-- Jenna Holst
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