15 April 2011

Herbed Spiral Bread ... Random Recipe III

This month's Random Recipe came from the very first cook book that I bought for myself ... I got it through The Book-of-the-Month Club right after I got out of college. And the cook book is ... insert drum roll ... Craig Claiborne's  New York Times Cook Book. Let it be said that right after college, I never wanted to read 'required texts' ever again. In fact, I never wanted to read anything over 200 pages ever again. It took a while, but before I knew it, certain books started looking attractive again.

This book got me started on cooking for boyfriends and family. There are classic recipes and great technique tips ... to boot, I only had to read one or two pages at a time to get good results - and I'm NOT talking a grade or a positive comment from some pompous ass of a professor! I'm talking something much more substantial and 'stick-to-your-ribs'! Over the years, I've lost the dust cover, spilled on the pages, split the spine, and marked favorites.

This month's random 'open sesame' brought me to Spiral Bread on page 467. Never made it! Totally random!  It seems fitting, as Dom has been the 'King of Sourdough' of late. While this is no sour dough, it has something else to recommend it - a pretty herbed filling. Actually, the recipe gives you a choice of fillings - herbed or anchovy.  I am not into salty fillings today and I am  really craving bright greens in honor of our spring weather (at last!), so I went for the parsley, scallion, and garlic mash.

Voila! Let's get going! This bread starts out with a scalded milk, shortening, sugar, and salt solution that gets cooled to about 109° F. Let's not kill the yeast, which is dissolved in a cup of lukewarm water and allowed to 'work' itself into a nice froth.

One of the questions I've had in my years of breadbaking is ... what exact temperature is  'lukewarm' ? I've come to the conclusion that is is 106° F ... or one degree up or down. How's that for exact?

Ten minutes of working gives the yeast a nice froth. The milk solution is cooled enough to work with and I have my flours out and ready to make dough.

I used bread flour for the first four cups of the flour measurement and switched over to all purpose for the last three cups. However, when it came to mixing in the all purpose flour, the dough seemed saturated at 2½ cups, so I left out the last ½ cup.

King Arthur makes a good product and that's all I need to say on that subject.

Taking aggressions out on the bread dough, as I get the last of the flour incorporated ... then, the dough (and my poor arm!) rested for ten minutes before another ten minute knead session.

Finished dough is ready for its first rise. This is a stiff compact dough. I was a little worried at first, I'll be honest. I put it in a big greased bowl and tucked it up by the warm woodstove, said a prayer to the 'kitchen gods' and went on to make the filling.

The green herbed filling in this recipe got me from the get-go. I have been so starved for fresh green Springtime flavors that I never even considered the anchovy filling option. I'm including that filling with the printable recipe, though, just in case you'd like to give it a try.

Oh, what a warm woodstove and a good yeast can do! The dough doubled beautifully. It got a punch down and then rested for another ten minutes ... while I drank beer and yakked on the phone. 

This dough makes two loaves , so there you go. Divide the dough and roll out each half to begin the spiral process. All I could think of as I divided the dough was ... 'right brain, left brain .... hmmm, which am I?

The width of the dough is the length of the bread pan ... get it? You can play with that idea and whichever bread pans you want. So, you roll out the rectangle of dough and spread some beaten egg on it.

Top the dough with half the herb filling and roll up jellyroll fashion. Tuck the ends under the seam side, and place in a greased bread pan (seam side down). Repeat with the other half of the dough and the rest of the beaten egg and filling. This filling smells so amazing! It's sautéed a bit to release the garlic aroma and green flavors of the parsley and scallions ... I added a bit of Asian red chili and garlic paste too. Killer!

Tucked up again by the warmth of the fire, it doesn't look like much, does it? But, wait! After another 45 minutes, these 'meh' pans look like ....

THIS! O joy, rapture! This is when you start to feel like maybe the kitchen gods have granted your prayer!
Spritz the tops of the loaves with a light olive oil, pop them into a pre-heated 400° F  oven and set the timer for 20 minutes. After the 20 minutes, check to see if the loaves are brown enough for your liking. Cover them lightly with a piece of foil to stop the browning and continue baking for another 20 - 25 minutes or until they sound hollow when rapped. Remove them from the pans immediately and cool on racks. Wrap in foil while still a bit warm and store in closed plastic bags until ready to slice.

Make toast! Enjoy!

So that was the long of it. Here's the short of it : Spiral Bread - printer friendly

Thanks, Dom for this challenge! This random find is a keeper. Special thanks, too,  go out to Denise Fletcher at bread expectations. Denise has given me encouragement as I become more involved in this thing called breadbaking.


  1. OMG, what a gorgeous loaf of bread Susan! Does that ever look good. We would love that with a bowl of homemade soup. Random recipes - what a great idea! I'm going to click on the link and find out more, but I'm guessing you just grab a cookbook, open it to a page and pick a recipe? What fun!

  2. well, I am bloody impressed... been kneading myself all day and thinking about what I can do special with my loaf this week and this has been an inspiration, so thank you... and thanks so much again for taking part, so glad you're enjoying it as much as me. and I love your step by step guides, always very useful... happy Friday! x

  3. I love the random recipe idea, it's genius! That bread looks like a gorgeous spiraly garlic bread loaf. In other words, delicious!!

  4. Now that sounds like a great cookbook. I am loving your spiral bread, nice change from sweet ones for me. Have a great weekend!

  5. Why is bread so addicting? I would actually have a slice of this every hour and half until it was gone. Gorgeous loaf of bread.

  6. Lovely idea, this random recipe challenge. I often feel like I accidentally neglect some of the cookbooks in my shelves, not out of spite, just habit. And then there's the ones which just DAUNT me with their detail, like Christine Manfield's Spice, or Paul Bertolli's Cooking By Hand. But if the random recipe challenge forced me to pick a book as well as a recipe then that could really work for the wallflowers...

  7. what a lovely herb filling! I love this! And I love that you just opened up to this recipe, it sounds wonderful! I have to start doing that! :)

    Thanks for your comment on the FBF. Last year I took my first sponsored trip to meet up with other bloggers and (ask my husband) I was a wreck the night before I was leaving. I still get that way (have only done this a few times). FBF was so nice for me because I didn't have to leave home, I felt so much more comfortable that way. So, I heard everything you said! :)

  8. Boys can be such a wonderful inspiration. Glad to see you put it to goo use.

  9. What a loaf Susan!!! Fabulous..I must say you've had better luck with this rolled nread business than I have. I fixed a version of rolled bread a few weeks ago and found that the portion right in the center was still wet and doughy which appealed NOT to me :)

    Yours on the other hand looks first class through and through :) Please share your secret.

    chow! Devaki @ weavethousandflavors

  10. Hi Susan. I found your blog through Dom's at Belleau Kitchen. This spiral bread looks fab! Must be so fragrant inside with all the herbs and garlic. Yum.
    Have a nice day. Michael

  11. The herb filling sounds great. Lovely blog!

  12. Your bread looks fantastic. I love King Arthur! Best flour- great recipes.

  13. Very impressed with your first cookbook.

    Your bread looks fantastic - I'd love a slice!


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