This is a hard post to write. It will be my last foodie post from my kitchen in Vancouver. I worked so hard to use the little natural light it got to spotlight my food. I am glad that I am ending this particular foodie cycle with such a special recipe.
I have been wanting to make Laura Calder’s Olive Oil and Herbes de Provence Bread for years and years. When my sister Jamie went to France I asked her to bring back Herbes de Provence for me and she did. I could finally make this beautiful bread and I did it by hand! Laura Calder would be so proud. I did make some changes to make it my own but she was definitely in the kitchen with me as I made this special loaf of bread.
You will need 1 tsp sugar, 2 1/2 tsp traditional yeast, 1 cup lukewarm water, 1/4 cup olive oil, 1 tsp salt, 2 1/2 cups bread flour (more if needed) and 1 tbsp Herbes de Provence.
The original recipe just says an envelope of yeast but I know that her method uses traditional yeast.
Stir the sugar and yeast into the water. Set aside for 10 minutes to dissolve and proof.
Put the olive oil and salt in a large mixing bowl.
Add the yeast mixture.
Get out those beautiful Herbes de Provence.
Add the herbs and 1 1/2 cups of flour.
Beat until smooth.
Then add remaining cup of flour.
Turn dough onto countertop to knead until you have smooth, springy dough. This takes 10 to 15 minutes.
Place in a large olive oil greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap.
Set in a warm place to rise to double, about 45 minutes.
Winter bread baking can be challenging so I like to heat up a giant glass of water in the microwave and leave the glass in there with the dough. It is like making your own proofer!
Punch down dough and shape into a loaf and place on parchment paper.
Let rise again 30 minutes covered with a clean tea towel.
Bake in a preheated 400ºF oven for 25 minutes until done.
Let the bread cool a little before slicing to serve.
I knew it was a special magic loaf of bread! Those herbs transcend me to France (my dream has always been to go to France) and the bread was beautiful. How wonderful when a recipe lives up to your expectations.
Dreaming Of My Foodie Future
Although this is the finale to my cooking and baking life in Vancouver, it will not be my final foray into French food. In fact, I am determined to learn as much about French food as I possibly can in the hopes that one day it will magically take me to the country itself. Do not ask me how. I just choose to dream it will just happen.
A foodie can dream, can’t she? And I can tell you right now that my French cooking future will include only REAL bacon from now on.
Farewell my beautiful retro homey Vancouver kitchen. You were so good to me for the last three and a half years. I choose that apartment because of the photo of the kitchen, it reminded me so much of my mom. You were definitely my happy place during such a sad and disappointing time in my life.
Now, I will be in a completely different kitchen in Toronto dreaming of Paris and discovering all I can about French food. My sisters have already graciously agreed to be my new taste testers.
The foodie journey continues…