My family loves this bread, and I've made it for church dinners, too. In the summer, I like to use fresh herbs from my mom's garden. You can vary the herbs and substitute your favorites. -Martha Smith Orient, Ohio
- 4 to 4-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 2 packages (1/4 ounce each) quick-rise yeast
- 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
- 3/4 teaspoon each dried marjoram, thyme, parsley flakes, basil and oregano
- 3/4 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
- 3/4 teaspoon rubbed sage
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 cup butter, cubed
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon butter, melted
- 1/8 teaspoon each dried marjoram, thyme, parsley flakes, basil and oregano
- 1/8 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
- 1/8 teaspoon rubbed sage
- In a large bowl, combine 1-1/2 cups flour, sugar, yeast, salt and herbs. In a saucepan, heat the milk, water and butter to 120°-130°. Add to dry ingredients; beat just until moistened. Add egg; beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.
- Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 4-6 minutes. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes.
- Divide dough into thirds. Shape each portion into a 15-in. rope. Place ropes on a greased baking sheet and braid; pinch ends to seal and tuck under. Cover; let rise until doubled, about 20 minutes.
- Bake 375° for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Brush with melted butter. Combine herbs; sprinkle over bread. Remove from pan to a wire rack to cool. Yield: 1 loaf. (16 slices).
Originally published as Garden Herb Braid in Taste of Home August/September 2004, p38
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