Sunday, January 13, 2013

Rosemary Bread

Please welcome my friend Kate of Department of Plate as our latest guest blogger with her awesome and awesomely easy Rosemary Bread!

I stumbled across an easy bread baking recipe (in my opinion a gem in and of itself) but was truly drawn to try to attempt it rather than leave it in the large and ever growing stack of recipes in a magazine holder in my kitchen never to be made. This recipe made me a recall a particularly unglamorous time in this impassioned foodie's life: immediately post-college when meal plans and disposable income were both nonexistent.

Working during the day for a government contracting company and at night at the omnipresent and less than authentic Macaroni Grill Restaurant, it was in the latter that not only developed a soft spot for Rosemary Bread, but where for several months I may have subsisted upon it alone. This is an example of the little heard of "all carb diet"intended mostly for drought-ridden Horn of Africans, poorly compensated post-graduates, and other famine-ravished peoples of the world. On nights that a line cook wouldn't "accidentally" mis-make an order and box it for me to go instead of toss it in the trash (per company policy) I'd eat this bread for dinner. Oddly, this staple did not lose favor with me despite the unbelievable quantities I consumed.

So, when I found this recipe that claimed to be comparable to the one in my memory I had to give it a try. To my delight, it's true to its description: easy to make, and similar to Macaroni Grill. Each time I make it (fairly frequently) I smile to myself and think of scarfing bread during my shift in the hidden corner near the steamy dishwashing area and trashcans. An odd memory to consider fond no doubt, but somehow it is.

Rosemary Bread
    from The Food Network
     makes 4 loaves

1 1/4 oz. package active dry yeast
2 teaspoons sugar
2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing and serving
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (I usually substitute whole wheat flour), plus more for dusting
2 Tablespoons dried rosemary
1 teaspoon fine salt
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper

1. Stir the yeast, sugar and 1/4 cup warm water in a large bowl (or in the bowl of a stand mixer). Let sit until foamy, about 15 minutes.

2. Add 1 Tablespoon olive oil, the flour, 1 1/2 tablespoons of the rosemary, fine salt, and 3/4 cup warm water. Stir with a wooden spoon (or with the dough hook if using a stand mixer) until a dough forms.

3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead, dusting lightly with flour if necessary, until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes (or knead dough with a dough hook on med-high speed, adding a little flour if the dough sticks to the bowl, about 8 minutes).

4. Brush a large bowl with olive oil. Add the dough; cover with plastic wrap and let it stand at room temperature until more than doubled, about 2 hours.

5. Brush two baking sheets with olive oil. Generously flour a work surface; turn the rough out onto the flour and divide into 4 equal pieces.. Working with one piece at a time, sprinkle some flour on the dough, then fold the top and bottom an bottom of the dough into the middle. Fold in the sides to make a free-form square. Use a spatula to turn the dough over, tuck the corners under to form a ball. Place seam-side down on a prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough, placing 2 balls on ear baking sheet.. Let stand uncovered until more than doubled, about 2 hours.

6. Preheat the over to 400 degrees. Bake the loaves for 10 minutes; brush with the remaining 1 Tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle with the kosher salt and remaining 1/2 Tablespoon rosemary. Continue baking until golden brown, about 10 more minutes. Transfer loaves to a rack to cool. Serve with olive oil seasoned with pepper.

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