Bread is what got me interested in baking. I’ve always been a homesteading sort of person and the thought of baking my own bread as a teenager appealed to me to much that I finally looked up a couple of recipes and tried my hand at baking my own crusty loaf of bread. Of course the crust was a little too crusty and the bread was dense. But I was hooked. Oh man, was I hooked.
After that first loaf, I immediately made another that same day. It actually came out worse. I didn’t know why because I thought I did it the same way. What I didn’t know was that there are small differences that can make big changes when making bread. It’s a science, and I was learning.
From there I experimented with all kinds of bread. I mastered ciabatta. I made New York style bagels weekly. For dinner I would make this herb skillet bread to serve on the side. I wanted to learn everything I could about making bread at home.
If I am honest with you, if you have a good, solid recipe that has been tested very well, you can easily make a nice loaf of bread on your own the first try. It’s just as a teenager, you get impatient and maybe don’t measure things as well as you should.
If you want a beginner recipe, this herb skillet bread is perfect for you. It has shorter rise times and doesn’t require any special skills or knowledge of baking with yeast. You can also try a simple white loaf. Once you get used to baking, a fun, twisty loaf like this Pane Bianco Italian Bread is really tasty.
But for now, a nice skillet bread like this is just what the family wants. It’s nice and garlicky, and has a nice balance of herbs and saltiness. And when you sprinkle a bit of parmesan cheese on top, I promise there won’t be any leftovers.
Herb Skillet Bread Recipe
- 1 cup warm water
- 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
- 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt, divided
- 1 1/2 teaspoons herbes de provence, divided
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 tablespoon freshly grated parmesan cheese, optional
Mix together the water, maple syrup, and the yeast in a small, nonmetallic bowl. Allow to sit for at least 5 minutes for it to proof. (If you do not get a layer of foam over the water, you will need to try again with new yeast.)
In a mixer, add the flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and half the Herbes de Provence, then mix well. Add 1/4 cup of the oil, plus the yeast mixture to the bowl with the flour. Mix just until it comes together.
Knead using a dough hook on your stand mixer for 5 minutes, or by hand on a floured surface for 10 minutes. The dough should come together in a silky ball. If the dough doesn’t come together or seems too wet, add 1 – 2 tablespoons of extra flour to the dough.
Use half a tablespoon of the oil to lightly grease a large bowl. Place the dough in the ball and cover with plastic wrap. Leave to rise at room temperature for 45 minutes to an hour, when it is about doubled in size.
Chop the garlic in half. Lightly grease a 10-inch cast iron skillet with some of the oil, then rub the skillet with the cut side of the garlic. Finely dice the garlic.
Deflate the dough and place into the oiled skillet and spread out to the edges. Top with the remaining herbs, salt, and the chopped garlic. Add the parmesan if using.
Tightly wrap with plastic wrap and allow to rise for 30 minutes. While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 400°F.
Bake for 20 – 25 minutes, or until puffy and golden brown. Allow to cool for at least 30 minutes to an hour before serving.
Cuisinart Stainless Steel Mixing Bowls
Cuisinart Stand Mixer
Le Creuset Skillet