Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Rosemary Bread














I had a bunch of bread flour left over in my pantry, so I decided to use a lot of it up in a loaf of bread. Yes, I really do love to bake that much that I baked a loaf of bread right before my movers were coming to pack up my house.

I had been flipping through some cooking magazines that caught my eye while out picking up a few odds and ends at the store, and a recipe in one of them jumped out at me. It was a picture of a loaf of rosemary bread, with a very simple and basic list of ingredients. I thought - wow, I actually have everything I need for this in my house still! I even have a huge rosemary plant outside in my garden, just perfect for this recipe. I didn't really want to purchase the magazine at the time, but luckily was able to ask Marie if she had a copy and sure enough, she did.

Fresh Rosemary Bread (thanks to Marie, adapted from Country Kitchen magazine)
(makes one 2-pound size loaf)

2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
50 ml lukewarm water
1 tsp sugar

Mix the above together and set aside for about 15 minutes to activate the yeast. It should appear foamy and bubbly.

500 g plain flour (I used bread flour as that was all I had)
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar (yes, this is extra sugar)
70 ml olive oil
2 Tbsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (this did not make it spicy)
200 ml warm water, or as needed

egg wash:
1 egg, beaten lightly
1 pinch salt
1 handful coarse salt, for sprinkling over top (I used Jane's Krazy Mixed-Up Salt)

Grease a loaf tin and preheat your oven to 400 F (205 C).

Prepare the yeast mixture and once it has foamed up, add in the flour, salt, additional sugar, olive oil, rosemary, cayenne pepper, and as much of the water as needed to make a smooth ball of dough that isn't too dry or too sticky. (You may need a little more or less depending on the humidity that day, I had to add a few extra spoonfuls of water when I made mine).

Once the dough has formed into a ball, knead it on a lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, cover with lightly greased clingfilm, and let rise 30 minutes.

Give the dough a punch to deflate it, replace the clingfilm, and then let it rise another 30 minutes.

Punch the poor dough a third time (what-did-it-ever-do-to-you-anyway?). Now gently (ironic, huh?) form it into a loaf shape and place it into your greased loaf tin. Cover it as before and allow to to rise until almost doubled in size. No more punching!

Once the bread has risen, brush it with a bit of egg wash (egg mixed with a pinch of salt), then liberally sprinkle with coarse salt. Get a sharp knife, dust the knife with flour, then give the top of the loaf a few slashes. Grab a shallow roasting tin and place it on the bottom of your oven, then add 1-2 cups of hot water to the tin. Now place your loaf tin in the center over the oven. (Do NOT put the loaf tin into the pan of water!) The idea here is to allow the steam to rise and help crisp up the crust.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the loaf is golden and the bottom sounds hollow when you rap on it. Allow to cool on a rack before slicing. Devour! This is a great choice to use on sandwiches.

3 comments:

  1. Your bread turned out lovely Heather! I'm glad that I was able to give you the recipe. It looks fabulous! I'm not very good at making bread myself, although I do think that kneading the dough can be very theuraputic!

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  2. It was an excellent thing to make when full of stress about the move ;)

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  3. Lovely bread Heather. I feel I must try this and I have a ton of lovely rosemary growing in the garden, hope it turns out as good as yours.

    Hope the move goes well..

    Chris

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