Herb Dough for Bread or Dinner Rolls

Some years ago when I first got a bread machine, in an attempt to flavor the dough for dinner rolls I was making, I added a packet of one of those powdered sauce mixes that can be found in the gravy aisle in the supermarket. Not only were the rolls nicely flavored, but also something very unexpected happened. The rolls were lighter and softer than normal and the leftover rolls seemed to keep much better than usual.

Turns out that there are a few ingredients in the sauce mix that are commonly found in commercial bread doughs used to improve the texture and keeping properties of yeast breads. These included ingredients that raise the acidity of the dough such as buttermilk powder and lactic acid, both natural ingredients.

Now, when my menu calls for bread or rolls, I often choose a powdered sauce mix that compliments the meal and has ingredients that are as natural as possible. One of my current favorites is a seasoning mix from Lawry’s that is normally used to make a creamy basil scented sauce for tortellini sold as “Creamy Basil Chicken Tortellini”. It’s all-natural and has the acidic ingredients that profoundly improve the texture of the bread. The result is a bread with a lovely soft crumb. The flavorings in this particular mix give the bread a subtle herb flavor that is very nice for sausage sandwiches or cold sub sandwiches.

I often use my bread machine, but only to do the kneading for me. The same results can be achieved with a stand mixer or the dough blade in a food processor. Most flavors of those packets of dry seasoning mixes will produce an interesting loaf of bread- dry Hollandaise sauce mix makes a lovely loaf. I particularly like the no-MSG Lawry’s mixes for my bread recipes….and, of course, they also make a great sauce when prepared as directed on the back of the packet!

This is the recipe I use for my bread machine. It can also be made with a stand mixer, a food processor fitted with a dough blade or totally kneaded by hand. As with any bread recipe, the amount of liquid you might need will depend on your flour and weather conditions. Add more or less as needed

Herb Bread
2 cups bread flour
1 package instant yeast
1 cup warm water (divided)
1 package Lawry’s Creamy Basil Chicken Tortellini seasoning mix
¼ tsp salt
1 tablespoon olive oil

Place the yeast in ½ cup of the warm water and stir to dissolve and set aside for 5 minutes to proof.

Meanwhile, place all the remaining ingredients to the pan of a bread machine and add the yeast mixture.

Set the bread machine to the “dough” cycle and knead, checking to make sure the dough isn’t too wet or dry. Add a teaspoon of additional water or flour if needed to adjust the dough so it isn’t too sticky. The dough should be soft and smooth.

When the dough has been kneaded and has risen twice in the bread machine, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and shape into one loaf or individual rolls.

Let the dough rise one more time until not quite doubled in size. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven until nicely browned and cooked through.

Let the bread cool completely on a rack before storing in a plastic bag or serve warm.

Makes 1 large loaf of bread, 12-16 dinner rolls or 6 oblong sandwich rolls.

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