Thyme scented bread

DSC_0599It’s been a while since I posted anything, but only because it’s been extremely, annoyingly, unbelievably, obnoxiously, stinging, frigidly cold. Yes it’s been very cold and some more. I don’t think there was ever a moment when it wasn’t snowing, or raining or hailing or a combination of all three. The weather is slightly better now. It’s not as frozen and water doesn’t seem all that spiteful but it’s severely cold still and of course there is nay a ray of sunshine.

What’s a carb loving gal to do in this hateful weather.. why of course bake some bread and shove it down in one big cartoonish gulp, because as I write I’m feasting on this ethereal scented bread, weighed down with copious amounts of butter and my computer has a severe case of the crummage.


Getting down to business, this bread is delectable, heavenly and all the good adjectives. It’s ever so slightly scented with thyme and this subtle perfume gives this bread an elevated elegance, which is so desirable in this weather. Also it’s easy and fun.

DSC_0542cBasic ingredients, except I wanted some heartiness to it, which is why I added whole wheat flour. It just takes the bread from mundane to exquisite. So..thyme, regular bread flour, whole wheat flour, yeast, sugar, salt, warm water and some oil.

DSC_0544into a large bowl, dump in your flours

DSC_0545add the salt and mix

DSC_0547into the warm water add in sugar

DSC_0548the yeast

DSC_0549mix and set aside to let the water foam in peace.

DSC_0550de-stalk the thyme in case you’re using fresh stuff.

DSC_0552once the yeast has foamed, make a well in the centre of your flour mixture

DSC_0553add in the oil

DSC_0554the thyme

DSC_0555yeasty water and mix together to form a dough. If your mixture is too dry add some more water, a teaspoon at a time, in case it’s a bit wet add some flour.

DSC_0557let it form a shaggy dough which has barely come together. Now start kneading. You have to knead for at least 10-15 minutes. It’s a good workout. You know you need it.

DSC_0558the best way to knead is to stretch it away from you.

DSC_0562then pull it back together. This gets the gluten going and the resultant dough is nice and springy. Repeat this step for at least 10 minutes and you’ll realize the dough has come to life. Trust me, you’ll just know it.

DSC_0563once it’s nice and soft and smooth and springy, form into a ball.

DSC_0567oil it slightly and let it rest for at least 1-2 hours depending on how warm your house is, making sure it’s doubled in size. 

DSC_0569once risen as you can see, it’s more than doubled, plop it out on your work surface.

DSC_0572punch it well to get rid of any air bubbles and knead again for another minute or so.

DSC_0573form into a ball.

DSC_0575and transfer on a baking sheet, bread pan or dish of choice. I dusted mine with some cornmeal but you can use semolina or flour.

DSC_0576dust some more flour on top. Cover and let rise again for another 30-45 minutes.

DSC_0578like so. mine took about 1 hour.

DSC_0580this step is completely optional, but I like doing it. I make some gashes or slashes to make it look like some artisan loaf. be careful while doing it, you do not want to deflate your bread so don’t Jackson Pollock it.

DSC_0582mmmkay!!  now bake at 200℃ for 20-25 minutes until the top is well browned and tapping the bottom makes the bread sound hollow.

DSC_0586like this!! you see this? So beautiful. You have to let it rest for at least 10 minutes. It’s going to be hellish hot.

DSC_0614ooooh mama!!! this bread is lightly specked with thyme, with a very subtle aroma. It’s soft and the whole wheat flour makes it a hearty mouthful.

DSC_0615this is what the interiors look like. It’s GORGEOUS!!!


Bread flour : 250 g ( 2 cups)

whole wheat flour: 70 g (about 1/2 cup)

salt : 1 teaspoon

sugar: 1 tablespoon

yeast: 1 teaspoon + a pinch

water (just warm to the touch): 250 mls (1 cup)

thyme : 1 tablespoon if using fresh or 1 teaspoon if using dried.

Oil: 2 teaspoons

Procedure: Add the sugar and yeast into the warm water and let foam. Add the flours into a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre and add in the oil, thyme and yeast water. Knead well for at least 10 minutes until the dough is smooth and springy.

Transfer into a lightly oiled bowl and let rise for a couple of hours until doubled in size. Once risen knead again for another minute and transfer into baking pan lightly dusted with flour. 

Dust the top of the bread with flour and let rise again for about 45 minutes. After the second rising bake at 200℃ for 20-25 minutes until the top is well browned and tapping the bottom makes the bread sound hollow.

Please give this bread a try, feel like a magician and feast like a Queen!!

DSC_0611another image to motivate you.. Enjoy!!!








Homemade easy crusty bread

Is there anything more liberating than baking your own bread? The moment you’re aware of the fact that you can bake your bread, you stop going to the supermarket to buy any.

We were facing a couple of problems with bread since as I have earlier mentioned that I’m living in a small town in China with limited options and availability, the breads available here though abundant aren’t the ones we’re specifically looking for. Mostly sweet or stuffed with meat, which puts me in a spot because hubby is a strictest of the strict vegetarian… sigh..

To resolve this situation and get custom made bread tailored to our needs (garlic/basil/cheese/oregano etc etc) I decided to cut to the chase and just bake one and finally omit the everyday early morning breakfast pop quiz.

Since it’s just the two of us I didn’t make a whole lotta bread, but the tiny loaf that I did make will last a almost 4-5 days by the end of which I’d be blogging about some other bread.

anywho’s.. the beautiful crusty bread.


1.5 cups white flour

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp active dry yeast

90 ml lukewarm water

1 tsp sugar

2 tbsp olive oil

Incredulously easy bread making..

in a small bowl mix in the water with the yeast and sugar and stir all to dissolve. let it stand for 10-15 minutes until the water starts bubbling.

In your mixing bowl add the salt to the flour and mix it, gradually add in the yeasty water and start mixing either by hand or your mixer. I did it with my hand thinking I’d probably lose a few calories before eating the bread.

It should for a very nice smooth, and stretchable dough. That’s it, you need to now rest and put the dough in some place where it will start rising. oil that utensil with the olive oil and cover with a cling film also oiled well so the dough doesn’t stick to it. I love watching the dough rise in every half hour interval.. these little yeasts do a good job, don’t they?

well let it rise for 2 hours..I was impatient so let mine rise for 1.5 hours. Take it out of its bowl and form it into some ovalish shape you’d want your bread to be. I flattened mine a bit from the top and again let it rise COVERED for another 25 minutes.

That done.. just bung it into the oven at 200℃ for 20-25 minutes depending upon the oven and how hardcore you want its crust to be.

Once done, pull it out, resist the urge to munch through it, or run a knife through it or embrace it. You’d know your bread is done when you knock on it bottom side to hear a hollow sound. Let it rest and VOILA !!! ze bread of ze dreamz..