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Tarragon Black Pepper Bread


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Tarragon Black Pepper Bread





2½ cups warm water (105° to 110°), divided
2 (¼-ounce) packages active dry yeast
½ cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
¼ cup sugar
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons salt
6½ cups to 7½ cups bread flour, divided
3 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper 


• In a small bowl, combine ½ cup warm water and yeast. Let stand for 5 minutes.
• Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, combine 2 cups warm water, melted butter, sugar, eggs, and salt. Beat at low speed with an electric mixer until smooth.
• Add yeast mixture, beating well. Gradually add 5 cups flour, beating until mixture is smooth. Add enough remaining flour to make a soft dough, beating well. Add tarragon and pepper, beating until combined.
• On a lightly floured surface, turn out dough, and knead until dough is smooth and elastic, 6 to 8 minutes.
• Place dough in a lightly greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover, and let stand in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, until doubled in size, approximately 1 hour.
• Spray 3 (10-inch) loaf pans with nonstick baking spray. Divide dough into 3 equal portions. Place in prepared pans. Cover, and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, until doubled in size, approximately 1 hour.
• Preheat oven to 350°.
• Bake until loaf sounds hollow when tapped, 30 to 35 minutes, shielding bread with aluminum foil to prevent excess browning.
• Cool in pans for 10 minutes. Remove from pans. Cool completely on wire rack. 


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