With winter in full swing, I’ve been concentrating on delicious, filling soups and stews to warm and comfort us through the chilly months. We like to sled, ski and play in the snow all winter long- and there is nothing more comforting after a day on the slopes than a delicious, homemade meal when you head in from the slopes. One of the best companions to a rich soup is always a delicious bottle of wine- as well as fresh, hot and buttery homemade bread. This seeded herb baguette is the perfect side dish to any wintery soup and pairs perfectly with a great bottle of wine.
I like to pair a delicious pinot with hearty, comforting soups and stews in winter- and my absolute favorite is La Crema’s Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir. The slightly earthy notes combine with a sweet-spicy finish that compliment rich beef flavor and make the herbs in this seeded herb baguette shine!
While making bread at home seems overwhelming to some, it really is easy enough for anyone to handle!
If you’d like to time your bread to be done after skiing- and don’t want to wait around all afternoon for the bread to rise- you can make the loaves the night before (with such little hands-on time, you can make them while watching a movie!) and cook them until just under done- about 5 minutes less. Let fully cool, and then keep in a bag until you’re ready to serve- and pop in the oven at 450 for 5-10 minutes until crunchy and warm.
This seeded herb bread is highly adaptable- add more or less of the herbs and seeds you love- or try different combinations! The options are endless. Just don’t add more than 1 tbsp of chia seeds as it will change the structure of the bread and make it a bit gummy and dense. Adding chia will mean you may use a bit more water to form the dough.
Be sure to check out my absolute favorite set it and forget it winter stew over on La Crema’s blog- this rich and delicious Apres Ski Steak and Noodle Stew is the most comforting dish you can eat after a long day out on the slopes (or anytime you’re craving a hearty, warming meal!).
- 2 envelopes dry active yeast (1½ tablespoons)
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 3½ to 4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 1 tablespoon each of fresh rosemary, sage, thyme, finely chopped (optional)2 teaspoons salt
- 1 tablespoon each of sesame seeds, flax seeds, chia seeds or hemp seeds (pick up to 3)
- Canola oil, for greasing bowl
- Cornmeal, for dusting pan
- 3 to 4 ice cubes
- Add honey, yeast and ½ cup warm water in a medium sized bowl.
- Stir to combine, and let the mixture stand until the yeast activates and becomes fomay, about 5 minutes.
- Mix flour and salt in a large mixing bowl with a dough hook and slowly add in the foamy yeast mix.
- Add 1 cup warm water and mix until the dough comes together into a ball that isn't very wet (you may not need all of the water- so add slowly as you don't want it to become soupy).
- The dough shouldn't be sticky- if it is, just add a little more flour.
- Turn out the dough onto a floured surface and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, 2 to 6 minutes.
- To see if your dough is done, place a thumb on it, and if it springs back, it is ready!
- Make the dough into a ball, place it in a lightly-oiled bowl and cover with a warm damp dishcloth, so it doesn't dry out.
- Let rest until doubled in size, 25 to 30 minutes. (I like to keep mine on my glasstop stove over an oven that is preheating).
- Punch down the dough and divide it in half.
- Shape into 2 baguette loaves by making a flat rectangle out of your dough, then folding the top and bottom towards the middle, and sealing the seam with your fingers by pressing tightly.
- Keep shaping the loaves until they are thick, compact, and smooth- about a foot long and 2 inches wide.
- Place seam-side down a sheet pan or baguette pan that has been generously dusted with cornmeal.
- Score the tops of the loaves with kitchen scissors- snip diagonally across the top to make a large score mark.
- Cover with a dishcloth and let rise in a warm environment until they have doubled in size, 25 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees and position your oven racks with one on the bottom and the other in the middle.
- Add an ovensafe pan or cookie sheet on the bottom rack- it CAN NOT be glass.
- After baguettes have doubled in size again, quickly add the loaves into the oven and add ice onto the pan on the bottom rack. The ice will help give your bread a crispy crust- BUT- you must be very careful when adding it. The original recipe notes that if your oven has a glass window (like mine) and the ice hits it, it could shatter. EEP! Be careful when adding the ice!
Adapted from Kelsey Nixon’s Homemade Baguettes.
For more detailed pictures on how to shape loaves, this food 52 article is incredibly useful.