How many times have you gone to a Chuck Muer restaurant (Charlie's Crab, Big Fish, Merriweather's, Gandy Dancer, River Crab and Grand Concourse), been served the house bread before ordering your meal and made a dinner out of the bread? Us too! So here's the house bread recipe with the lovely topping spread called Chef Larry's blessing.
CHUCK MUER'S HOUSE BREAD
1 pkg. dry yeast
1 1/2 c. water
1 T. sugar
1 T. salt
2 T. olive oil
4 c. high gluten bread flour
1/4 c. kosher salt
2 T. poppy seeds
Chef Larry's Blessing (recipe follows)
1. In a bowl, sprinkle yeast on top of warm water (110°). When yeast has dissolved and starts to form bubbles, add sugar, salt and oil. Mix well.
2. Using an electric mixer or food processor on low speed, mix in the bread flour. As the ingredients combine, the dough should become soft. If it is sticky, add a little more flour.
3. Knead dough at medium speed for 5 minutes. The dough should be smooth and elastic.
4. Remove dough from machine and knead by hand for 2-3 minutes.
5. Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with clear plastic wrap or clean towel. Set bowl in a warm place and allow dough to rise until doubled in size (about 25-35 minutes).
6. Mix kosher salt and poppy seeds. Set aside.
7. When the dough has risen, separate into 4 equal pieces.
8. Sprinkle your work surface with the salt-seed mixture.
9. Form each dough piece into a long loaf and roll through the salt-seed mixture to lightly coat each piece.
10. Place loaves on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. With kitchen scissors, cut loaves into 5 sections, leaving the sections still attached.
11. Brush loaves completely with Chef Larry's Blessing.
12. Let the loaves rise for 30 minutes before baking. (At this point, they may be refrigerated for up to 8 hours before baking.)
13. Bake at 450° for 10 minutes. Then lower oven temperature to 400° and continue baking another 10 minutes or til golden brown. Serve immediately.
CHEF LARRY'S BLESSING:
In a blender, emulsify 1 large clove of garlic and 1 c. of olive oil. Add 2 T. of dried basil, 2 T. of dried oregano and 1/8 t. of salt, then turn blender on and off intermittently to mix thoroughly. Store covered at room temperature until ready to use. The marinade will keep for about 1 week.
Chuck Muer's House Bread recipe is published in our August, 2010 Menu Minder, Issue #322.