Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Feta and Herb Bread

Before I knew anything about real Greek food, I was introduced to the Greek salad, which featured feta cheese and oregano. At that point, my cheese universe consisted of supermarket standards like cheddar, Swiss, and American. The crumbly texture of feta was completely new to me.

Now my cheese universe is much larger, but feta still has a special place in my heart, because it was an early experience with food that I hadn’t grown up with. I still love feta cheese on salads, but I’ve expanded its uses.

And now it’s in bread.

Depending on the feta you use, it might disappear completely into the dough, or it you might end up with visible pieces. Either way is fine. The feta adds moisture to the dough, as well. So you might need to add a bit more flour if yours is particularly wet.

Marjoram is an herb that seems to have lost its popularity, but I still use it quite often. If you don’t have it, you can omit it or use thyme instead. I added just a teaspoon of garlic oil to this bread for a little extra flavor punch. I didn’t want garlic bread, though – just a slight garlic flavor in the background. The teaspoon was just enough to give that hint.

Feta and Herb Bread

1 cup lukewarm water
2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
3 cups (13 1/2 ounces) bread flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 ounces (by weight) crumbled feta cheese
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon garlic oil

Combine the water, yeast and sugar in the bowl of your stand mixer and set aside until bubbly, about 10 minutes. Add the bread flour and knead until smooth and elastic. The dough will be a bit dense, but that’s fine.

Add the salt, feta cheese, marjoram, oregano, and oils. Continue kneading until everything is evenly incorporated.

Flour your work surface lightly. Remove the dough from the bowl and knead it briefly. If it seems too wet or sticky, add more flour as you knead. Form the dough into a ball, drizzle with a bit of olive oil, and return it to the bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside to rise until  the dough has doubled, about 1 hour.

Flour your work surface, preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and sprinkle some cornmeal on a baking sheet. Knead the dough briefly, then form it into a tight ball. Place it on the prepared baking sheet, seam-side down. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside until doubled, about 30 minutes.

Remove the plastic wrap, slash as desired, and bake at 350 degrees until nicely browned, about 35 minutes. Let the bread cool completely on a rack before slicing.

This has been submitted to Yeastspotting.


shevon said...

wow, I would love to try that bread, sounds so delicious!

Sara said...

I love the flavors going on here - garlic, feta, and herbs, YUM! I bet this would be great toasted, as the basis of a fried egg sandwich.

Jeannie said...

Looks delicious! Bet the taste is really good with so much flavours added!

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