The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Fresh Herbs

SulaBlue's picture

Fresh Herbs

So I have a rather lively herb garden going right now, and several of my plants need trimming back before they get out of control. I'm thinking of making some herb breads. I have rosemary, oregano, dwarf basil, tri-colored sage, chives and thyme. I definitely want to do a rosemary sourdough. I love the rosemary sourdough bread from Whole Foods and it is indeed the 30 mile drive and $4 per loaf price tag (not to mention if I went in for bread I also had to get seaside cheddar and... and... and... so just best to avoid Whole Paycheck!)

What is the general rule of thumb on adding fresh herbs to breads? I know that I need to add them at the end of the kneading process just like any other added ingredient. Bu how do you know how much to use? Rosemary, obviously, is going to be quite potent - I don't want it to overwhelm my bread. There's also thoughts of doing a rosemary-chive or a rosemary-sage combination. My chives are all flopped over from having grown too tall to support themselves - time for a hair cut!

samsara's picture

If memory serves me correctly the fresh herbs are about half as potent as dried ones.  If you can find a recipe that has the dried versions in it then you can get a ballpark idea for how much to add.  Getting it exactly right (every plant is different due to different growing situations, soils, sunlight, etc.) will probably be a trial and error thing.

I'm still trying to figure out a way to use my citrus mint (aka bergamot mint) and my chocolate mint :-)

SulaBlue's picture

Goes great with strawberries. Maybe you could make some strawberry shortcakes, top with strawberries and chocolate mint?

xaipete's picture

Chives are part of the onion family (like shallots). You can use them as a substitute for onions, fresh or dried.


althetrainer's picture

I use chives in eggs i.e. scrambled or omelette, also in my potato soup.

davidg618's picture

I recently baked a Sundried Tomato Rosmary and Capers Focaccia (see my blog, "Bread Machine: You've come a long way Baby"). Like you, I have a very active herb garden. I used 1 generous Tbsp. of chopped, fresh rosemary in the dough, and 1 tsp. sprinkled on the top. The bread weight is approximately one-and-one-half lb. The flavor is distinct on the palette, but not overpowering. As a general rule, when I make herb breads I usually use 1 Tbsp. of EACH fresh herb for most common herbs, e.g. basil, thyme, and sage for 1-1/2 to 2 lb. loaves. For example for a 2 lb. loaf of thyme-sage herbed bread I'd use 1 Tbsp. of fresh sage, and 1 Tbsp. of thyme.

I've never made an anise flavored loaf, but that is one herb/spice I'd probably cut back on, probably a 1/2 tsp. dried, or 1 tsp. fresh.


flournwater's picture

Just as a side note  -   I have found that either chopping my fresh herbs very fine or crushing them with mortar and pestle before adding them to the dough preparation releases more of their flavor and actually, IMO, softens the flavor somehwhat in each bite.  Rosemary/Garlic ... OMG.  Just add butter or olive oil and freshly ground black pepper to some freshly cut slices, pour a glass of red wine and let the world go by.

DrPr's picture

I've made a rosemary olive oil loaf that calls for 1 tbs of fresh rosemary. You get about four lbs of dough with this recipe (2 boules). I found the rosemary flavor to be mild and to be most flavorful in the crust (yum!)  I love the idea of crushing the herbs rather than simply adding more rosemary for a stronger flavor. I hope to remember to try that next time.