Sunday, January 8, 2012

Rosemary Bread

I love bread.  I love anything full of carbs. Pasta, bread, cake, bread, anything with white flour, bread... you get the idea.  One of the judgements I make about whether or not I like a particular restaurant is typically in what kind of bread they serve.  For instance, Olive Garden may not have the most flavorful sauces or the best chicken cutlet but you'd be hard pressed to find a more garlicky or delicious breadstick.  Texas Roadhouse has the most amazingly soft yeast rolls with honey butter I've tasted to date, and always fresh.  Primo's and Macaroni Grill have rosemary bread.  I live in Stillwater.  We don't have a Primo's.  Or a Macaroni Grill, for that matter.  This means in order for me to partake in rosemary bread, I either have to drive 80 miles or make it myself. The latter is cheaper, so that's where I am today.

Rosemary Bread (adapted from here)
1 packet 1/4-ounce 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, plus more for dusting
2 tablespoons dried rosemary
1 teaspoon fine salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked sea salt 
Freshly ground pepper

Mix yeast, sugar, and 1/4 cup 110-115 F water in a small bowl.  Set aside until yeast is active and froth forms, about 5 minutes.  In a mixing bowl, combine 1 tbsp olive oil, 2 1/2 cups flour, 1 1/2 tbsp dried rosemary, and 1 tsp fine salt with the yeast mixture.  Use either a wooden spoon, a stnad mixer fitted with a dough hook, or a hand mixer fitted with a dough hook.  Turn out onto a well floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 9-10 minutes.  Form a ball.  Coat a large bowl with olive oil and place the dough ball in the bowl.  Cover with a damp cloth or plastic wrap and let rise until more than doubled, about 2 hours.

Turn out and divide into four equal parts.  Working with one part at a time, fold the edges over to form a freeform square.  Turn the dough over and tuck the corners underneath, creating a smooth ball. Do this with each of the dough parts until you have 4 uniform balls. Transfer to a baking sheet coated with olive oil and let rise on sheet for another 2 hours, or until more than doubled in size. 
Preheat oven to 400.  Bake for 10 minutes.  Pull from oven, brush the loaves with olive oil, and crack fresh sea salt over the top of each one.  Sprinkle rosemary over the top of each one and return to oven for another 10 minutes.  Remove and serve warm with olive oil and an Italian spice blend, or olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

So amazingly delicious, especially fresh from the oven.  However, the loaves were not much more than a glorified dinner roll in size so I think next time I will only divide the dough into two parts rather than four for larger loaves.  Macaroni Grill, eat your heart out.

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