TOPPING OFF Soup Week with my very favorite accompaniment for soup, Herb Baguettes! (I am making this recipe today to take to my care group meeting tonight and I can tell you right now not a crumb will come home with me.)
Dissolve 1 pkg instant dry yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar in 1/4 cup of warm water (105-115 degrees).
In large bowl or your stand mixer, stir together:
3-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 T chopped fresh basil (or 1 teaspoon dried)
2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme (or 1/2 teaspoon dried leaf thyme)
1 teaspoon fresh minced garlic (I use 1/8 teaspoon dried)
1 teaspoon salt
After yeast mixture has foamed (about 5 minutes), add slowly to dry mixture, along with 3/4 cup cold water. Mix by hand 1-2 mintutes or on low speed of stand mixer for 30 seconds. If sticky, add another 1/4 cup of flour.
Knead by hand or machine (with dough hook) until smooth and elastic.
Cover with dish towel (to prevent drafts) and let rise at room temperature until double, about 1-1/2 to 2 hours.
On lightly floured surface, punch dough down several times to remove air bubbles.
Divide dough in half. Shape each half into a 12-inch long loaf. Place on a greased baking sheet or into a greased baguette pan. With a sharp knife, make 3 to 4 shallow diagonal slices in top of dough.
Combine 1 egg with 1 teaspoon water. Brush top of each baguette with egg mixture. Cover lightly with clean dish towel (or greased plastic wrap, which I do not care for as much). Let rise at room temperature until doubled again, about 1 to 1-1/2 hours.
Brush tops again with remaining egg mixture.
Bake at 450 degrees for 15 to 18 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pans and cool on wire racks.
Yields: 36 servings (18 slices per loaf)