Makes 1 large loaf
1 envelope active dry yeast
1 tsp sugar
¼ cup warm water (110°)
2 Tbs (1/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted
2½-3 cups all-purpose flour
1½ tsp salt
2 Tbs fresh oregano, minced
2 Tbs fresh thyme, minced
2 Tbs fresh rosemary, minced
Sprinkle yeast and sugar over ¼ cup warm water in a large bowl; stir to dissolve. Let stand until foamy.
Blend one cup water and one tablespoon melted butter into yeast mixture.
Combine 2½ cups flour and salt.
Stir into yeast mixture, ½ cup at a time, to form slightly sticky dough, adding up to ½ cup additional flour if necessary.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about five minutes.
Place dough in a large bowl that has been lightly coated with butter. Turn dough to coat entire surface.
Cover with a clean cloth and let rise in a warm, draft-free area until dough is doubled in volume, about 1½ hours.
Punch dough down. Divide dough into thirds. Turn out ⅓ onto a lightly floured surface and knead in fresh oregano.
Shape dough by rolling dough between the palms of the hands into a rope 20 inches long, tapering the ends of the rope. Set aside.
Repeat process with ⅓ of dough, kneading in the thyme.
Repeat process with remaining ⅓ of dough, kneading in rosemary.
Arrange ropes side by side, close together.
Starting at the middle and working toward one of the ends, braid the three ropes together, pressing them into a point at the tapered ends.
Turn the bread around and braid ropes from the middle to the other end pressing the ropes at the end in the same manner.
Transfer the braided bread to a greased baking sheet and let rise, covered loosely with a clean cloth, in a warm place for 45 to 50 minutes or until doubled in volume.
Preheat oven to 375°.
Brush loaf with remaining one tablespoon melted butter and bake of 20 to 30 minutes, or until golden and the loaf sounds hollow when the bottom is tapped.
Let cool on a rack for 30 minutes before serving.