Welcome spring! err… I mean,Welcome spring chives! Here in Calgary, Alberta, where I currently live, spring doesn’t really ever happen. Oh, we have had days already that it has hit 18C (which is about 69F) , which is actually beautiful weather, but living at the foot of the Canadian Rockies always brings interesting weather. Yesterday I finally put into the ground my 5 basil plants (4 large leaf Genovese and 1 Thai), flatleaf parsley, lemon thyme, jalapeno and bell pepper plants that I purchased last weekend. I also planted some radish seeds (they only take about 25 days until pickin’).
Todays Weather? 5C (41F) ! How are my poor basil plants supposed to survive in that kind of weather? I can only hope for some stinking hot July weather to save the day. Not that I profess to be any kind of gardener. I lived in Manhattan for 20 yrs and never planted a thing in my life, but now have been slowly trying to add a little bit more to the garden every year. One of the best confidence boosters is chives. Other than sticking them in the ground, you do nothing. Seriously. My neighbor gave me a small patch from her garden about 5 years ago and now I get this huge patch every year. If all else fails in the garden I can count on my chives, so when I out planting yesterday I noticed how big it was getting and dug out a wedge to pass along to one of my friends. It’s all great, but what’s a girl to do with so much chives? Bake bread, of course. This bread is moist and fragrant and is excellent for sandwiches or toast. After having it with soup for dinner last night, it was great with scrambled eggs and tomato this morning, and my husband just enjoyed it in a tuna fish sandwich. Bake on!
Makes One Loaf, using a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan
1 cup (8 ounces) warm water
1/3 cup (3 ounces) whole or part-skim ricotta cheese
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon sugar
3 cups (13 ounces) unbleached bread flour
1/2 cup (1 ounce) chopped chives (I ended up adding a little more)
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
In the bowl of a standing mixer, place the warm water (90-100F) , the yeast, and the sugar; whisk to combine. Let this sit for 5 minutes to activate the yeast. Once foamy, add the remaining ingredients using the dough hook ( While many recipes say to start with the paddle attachment and then switch to the dough hook, I rarely ever do this and start off directly with the dough hook with no difference that I can tell). Let the dough knead in the mixer for 10 minutes. The sides of the bowl should be completely clean, but the dough will still be slightly tacky – that’s okay- Don’t be tempted to add extra flour if you really don’t need to; it will toughen your bread. Place the dough into a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a clean towel or plastic wrap to double in size; this will take about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
Lightly coat your loaf pan with butter and cooking spray
When the dough is double in size (if you stick a finger in the dough it will leave an impression), turn it out onto a clean work surface and roll the dough (you can even just pat it out with your hands) to a rectangle shape approximately 9 x 17 inches. Fold the dough into thirds, like a letter; pinch the seams firmly together and place into your loaf tin. Cover again with a clean towel or plastic film; let rise again for 45 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 350F.
When the dough has risen a second time, bake in the preheated oven for approximately 35-40, or until a dark golden brown and it sounds hollow when tapped. Take it out of the pan and let cool completely on a cooling rack. Enjoy.Source: King Arthur Flour