Herb Bread from yeast starter

I've never been much of a gardener. When we were growing up, my brother used to forbid me to even look at his tomato plants, because he believed that if I looked at them they would die. It probably was not an entirely unfounded belief.

I think that my stunning lack of success as a gardener is closely tied to my scatterbrained personality. I just... forget that I have plants to take care of. I water them and weed them and help them tenderly along and then the next time I remember they exist it has been two weeks and they are dried, shriveled little shrubs of themselves, overtaken by the more hardy weed-plants that don't need my care or protection.

I do have a solution to this problem. I learn to like the weeds. I pretend that the four-o-clocks that have taken over my front flower bed are gorgeous, and what I wanted there all along. Stickers? Builds character.

But I haven't entirely given up on the idea of my own garden filled with real plants that I actually planned to be there. I keep trying. And I'm getting better. For example, my herb garden this year was not entirely a bust. Granted, the basil is kind of... sad. And the rosemary insists that life in my garden is just not worth living. But the parsley is doing GREAT. ... uh, what do you do with parsley? Lots and lots of parsley?

Anyway, it came to my attention the other day that I actually had quite a few herbs in my garden, and I decided that the time had come to put them to work in my kitchen. Why else grow herbs? Exactly. So I made this delightful herb bread, and I thought I'd share.

If you've been reading my blog for long, you know that I grow yeast starter. I like the flavor better, and it's cheaper than store bought yeast. So this bread is made from starter, and I explain how to make said starter here: http://lifebydanielle.blogspot.com/2011/09/pet-yeast.html

I keep my starter in the fridge so I don't have to use it every day, so before I made this bread I pulled the starter out of my fridge and let it warm up for a while until it was all bubbly again, then poured about 2 cups of starter into my mixing bowl.

Herbs from my garden. This is all that I used in the bread, and I made a lot of bread. Fresh herbs are quite strong.

Chop chop chop. And crack some pepper too.

Pile flour on the starter.

Add some herbs. And salt. And warm water. Not much water, just enough to make a shaggy but rather stiff dough.

Knead, knead, knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic.

Olive oil all over the dough and let it rise to double. Then shape the bread how you want it and let it rise to double again before baking it.
Now, I have no pictures of my first batch of bread, because, true to form, I forgot all about the bread in my oven and it became large croutons. But the rest of my dough became nommy, lovely calzones with cheese and ham and onions in the middle of it. And I do have pictures of those.

Herb Bread

2 c starter
some fresh herbs and cracked pepper and garlic
salt (about 1 to 2 tsp)
3 c flour
about 1/2 cup warm water

Chop up the herbs. Mix the starter, flour, herbs, and salt. Add enough water to make a stiff, shaggy dough. Knead until smooth and elastic, about ten minutes. Coat liberally with olive oil and let rise to double. Punch down and shape into bread loaves, calzones, etc. Allow to rise to double again.
Bake at 400 degrees F for about 20 minutes, or until slightly golden. Eat happily.

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