Basil bread

If thou tastest a crust of bread, thou tastest all the stars and all the heavens.
~ Robert Browning

When you go home on sick leave, everyone always drowns your ears in an ocean chorus of “go home and lie down! Feel better soon!”… but there are certain kinds of Sick that do not get cured by you lying down for hours. I mean the sort of Sick where panadol and manuka honey do zilch and leave you feeling like a burdened donkey (not well enough to concentrate and do a good job at work, but not sick enough to die yet, either).

I had a good rest at home, chatted on the phone with a friend in Wellington, cooked and ate my breakfast at 4pm:

– Chicken + mustard + garlic + lemon + basil

– Silverbeet + red pepper + oyster mushrooms + muscovado + salt + a pat of butter + sundried tomatoes + anchovy (yes, I had a “creative moment” and just went nuts).

It was a random meal, but I felt better after that.

Then, just ‘cos I could, I decided to try making some basil bread. The scent of basil certainly did my sore head a lot of good.

Sometimes I think that scaling flour mountains helps me think of ways to move the mountains in my own life. I know that sounds ridiculous, but… well, I do it. :-)

The yeast drove me nuts! Four failed attempts later (at making it activate), I got it to foam/bubble at least a little and I think I now have a better idea of what “lukewarm” water should feel like.

If you try making this bread (I adapted this recipe), you may want to use a bowl or make sure you have a very wide bench. The centre of the well has a tendency to gush.

Keep going with those sticky fingers and you’ll get some good-looking, good-smelling dough flecked with green.

It takes some waiting around.. but not too long. Just keep reading and singing while the dough plays its rising game.

I’ve only baked bread a few times in my life, and each time I enjoy it immensely even when parts of the process (read: fussy yeast, flour-showered pants, etc) drive me a little batty.

It fills the house with good smells…

Crusty, soft, warm…

I’m not sure if this violates any informal code of conduct re eating bread, but I really enjoyed having salt and butter and a tiny splash of balsamic vinegar on this bread. I ate a warm roll as the sun gave my window a goodbye hug.


17 responses to “Basil bread

  1. Yum, hope you are feeling better. I felt a bit jetlagged @ work today – cloudy head and sleepy, hope it passes by tonight and tomorrow we are Fresh =) xx

  2. This looks great, but i couldn’t get the recipe link to work. Hope you feel better soon! :)

  3. Oh! I can just imagine how wonderful this smelled. This looks so good. Great use of the basil!! I hope you’re feeling better. :)

  4. Looks fantastic and I bet it smelled fantastic too.

  5. That looks fantastic, Mel! I’m so impressed. I hope you are feeling better… x

  6. Thanks Greg and Sophie :-)

  7. Yum, the bread looks great, and basil is definitely ‘medicinal’ :-).
    I hope that you will feel better soon.


  8. Feel better! What you said about bread makes total sense – maybe that’s why I love making it so much. Butter and balsamic vinegar together on the bread sounds perfect :)

  9. This bread looks great! Glad you perservered through the awkward yeast-stages… and hope you’re feeling better :)

  10. These look incredibly soft in the centre and crusty on the outside. I can absolutely picture the smell! Basil is not quite flourishing here – perhaps too cold in the Waikato still? I think I would find it hard not to eat every single one of those buns, on the premise that they’re only good while they’re fresh! How do you get around this temptation??

  11. Thanks everyone, I am feeling better! Must’ve been the basil ;-)

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