A couple of friends were over baking when my last CSA box came. I offered them both the basil, but one of them suggested that I keep it and make basil bread. I have had tomato basil bread, but never plain basil bread, so I asked her what the heck she was talking about. She sent me a recipe and it was really good! You process 100g of basil with a bit of oil and garlic, then put that in the dough. I wish so much that I’d snapped a picture because it was a gorgeous bright green before baking, but turned into a more standard bread color afterward. 100g of basil is a ton, it was the whole big bunch from the box, but it made for a very tasty and fragrant bread!
I used the dough cycle on my machine, even though the recipe was for making it by hand, and it worked beautifully! My friend said she has always made it with less basil and just chops it by hand instead of processing it with the oil and garlic, so feel free to try that, too.
Basil Bread (adapted from a cookbook, let me know if you know which it is!)
Makes 1 2-lb loaf
2 cloves garlic
4.5 Tbs or 70ml olive oil (I used just 1/4 cup and it was fine)
250g whole wheat flour
250g white flour (or bread flour)
1 tsp salt
1.5 tsp active dry yeast
1 cup plus 1 Tbs or 250 ml lukewarm water
Process the basil, garlic and oil until the basil is thoroughly blended. Place first in the bread machine with the water and salt. Add both flours on top of the liquid, being careful to keep them floating above it. Add yeast. [If you will turn on the machine immediately, you can activate the yeast in 3 Tbs of water, then add that on top of the flour. That’s how I did it.] Turn on machine to dough cycle and let it do its thing!
When dough cycle is finished, remove dough to a lightly floured surface. Punch down and knead until there are no more air bubbles. Shape as desired [I did a free-form loaf] and then let rise 30-60 minutes, until doubled.
Bake at 350ºF (180ºC) for 40-50 minutes if free-form, or 50-60 in a loaf pan. When done, remove from pan and let cool before slicing.