Y’all, this is the best bread I have ever made. One of the best breads I’ve ever eaten.
I know, I know—that’s a bold statement. But I’m being completely serious. As I’ve said previously on this blog, I’m not a huge bread person. I can take it or leave it, would rather have dessert or wine or even a good veggie side dish. But this bread has changed my mind.
The Friday night after Thanksgiving we were having a bunch of family and friends over for Sabbath dinner, but just having Thanksgiving leftovers. A couple hours before dinner, we realized that we probably didn’t have enough leftover bread, so I perused my various pinned bread recipes and thought I could throw this together in time. Plus, my mom still has a giant rosemary bush in her garden despite a hard freeze, so we had gobs of fresh rosemary to play with.
I had to force the rising a little due to time constraints, but it turned out really well anyway. And, the original recipe actually calls for dried rosemary for garnish, which my mom didn’t have. So I sprinkled whole sea salt on top instead, which was one of the better decisions I made last week (Seriously, another piece of pie, me? What were you thinking?) and gave it a lovely salty crunch!
Fresh herbs are one of the best smells in the world. So jealous of my mom having tons right outside the back door!
You’ll want to mince up the rosemary really fine, helps get it spread out through the bread. If you wanted to get crazy, you could sprinkle the salt called for in the bread and kind of grind the two together to really release the flavor.
Pour the warm water into a big bowl (note: doesn’t need to be this big, I went a little crazy) and sprinkle the yeast and sugar on top. Set aside for about ten minutes, until the yeast is all sorts of bubbly and foamy on top.
Next, dump the regular flour (I didn’t have white whole wheat flour, so I used part whole wheat, part regular), the Italian seasoning, rosemary, salt, and olive oil into the yeast mixture.
Stir that all together just enough so it makes a really sticky, wet dough mixture.
Then add the bread flour and mix together until it’s a much more dough-like dough (definitely drier). If you don’t have bread flour, you can probably just use regular flour and be fine.
Pour the dough out onto a lightly-floured surface.
Knead for about five minutes, adding whatever flour’s necessary to keep it from sticking to you or the surface.
Then grease a big bowl and place the dough inside. Cover, set it aside and let it rise for about an hour.
As I said, I was kind of pressed for time both times I made this recipe. So I heated up the oven slightly, turned it off, and put the dough in there to rise (with the door open at first). This forced it to rise faster. You can do the same thing with the microwave—run the microwave for a couple minutes without anything in it, then put the dough in the now-warm microwave to sit.
It should have about doubled in size when your hour (or less is up). Mine wasn’t quite double, but it had risen nicely.
Punch the dough down, then form it into a round loaf. Put it on a pizza stone (or in my case, back in the bowl), cover, and let rise while the oven is heating up. It says for about 45 minutes, I think I let it rise for about a half hour or so (near the oven so it got some extra heat to rise.
Pre-heat your oven to 400. I decided to bake the bread on a cast iron skillet we use for pancakes, so I placed the skillet in the oven to heat up as well, gives you a nice crust on the bottom of the bread.
When you’re ready to put the bread in the oven, take a sharp, serrated knife and make kind of criss-cross cuts on the dough about a quarter-inch thick. I did three cuts by two cuts to make a pretty net-like pattern over the top of the bread.
Make the egg wash by beating a whole egg with a tablespoon of water. Slather on the loaf of dough, then sprinkle with whole sea salt.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown on the outside.
The bread was warm and super fragrant, with delicious herbs and the salty top. It got rave reviews from everyone, and it was even awesome the next day (which most homemade artisan bread is not, in my experience).
So then a couple days later, my mom and I got fancy and decided to make grilled cheese sandwiches with this bread (I made a new batch, the other had been devoured) and truffle cheese, and some roasted sweet potato, apple, and sage soup to go with it. It was a-MAH-zing.
Rosemary Olive Oil Bread
- 1 cup of warm water (100-110 F)
- 1 tablespoon of organic cane sugar
- 2 teaspoons of active dry yeast
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 2 tablespoons of fresh rosemary, chopped (or 2 tsp. dried)
- 1/4 teaspoon of Italian seasoning (or pinch of each ground garlic, dried oregano, and dried basil)
- 1/4 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups of white whole wheat flour (plus extra for kneading); I used some regular whole wheat, some regular white
- 1/2 cup of bread flour
- 1 egg, whisked + 1 tablespoon of water, for egg wash
- Whole sea salt, for sprinkling
1. In a large bowl, combine the warm water, sugar, and yeast. Let it sit 10 minutes to proof, it’ll become foamy on top.
2. Stir in the salt, rosemary, seasonings, olive oil, and whole wheat (or regular) flour. Add the bread flour and stir until the dough forms a ball. Turn out onto a lightly-floured surface and knead for about 5 minutes, adding more flour as necessary to prevent sticking, until smooth.
3. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover, and let rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour. If you’re pressed for time, you can slightly heat the oven or the microwave and then place the bowl in there to rise.
4. Punch down the dough and form it into a round loaf. Place it on a cornmeal dusted pizza peel or parchment paper, cover, and let rise until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, preheat oven (and pizza stone or in my case cast iron griddle) to 400 F. Once the dough has risen, slice a web of cuts across the top of the dough to form a net (this lets out steam as it’s baking). Gently brush the top with the egg wash and sprinkle with whole sea salt.
6. Bake on the preheated stone for 20-25 minutes, until the top is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped.
Original recipe here