Rosemary Olive Bread
This morning I got up entirely too early, and decided to make a different bread from my usual round of baguettes, boule, rye, and no-knead white bread. After a little internet research, I found this easy-but-scrumptious-sounding recipe from Epicurious that made me, well… curious. It was well worth the time and effort: this Rosemary Olive Bread is absolutely delicious! It has a chewy crust, excellent texture, and a wonderful flavor. Try it and see!
This recipe is by Mark Bittman, slightly adapted and greatly appreciated. He says: A healthy dose of olive oil gives this rosemary-infused bread a rich, moist crumb and pale golden hue; it also helps it keep a little better than other European-style breads. Among other things, this is a wonderful and unconventional loaf for sandwiches.
Note: In making bread, exact proportions are important, so I find it works better to measure everything in grams, including liquids. Use an electronic scale with both ounces and grams.
400 (3 cups) all-purpose flour
8g (2 tsp) Kosher salt
8g (2 tsp) instant or rapid-rise yeast
200g (scant cup) water at room temperature
45g (1/3 cup) olive oil
Small handful fresh rosemary leaves
Butter or oil spray such as Pam for greasing the bowls/pans
1. Combine the flour, yeast, and salt in a food processor. Turn on the machine and add the olive oil through the feed tube, followed by ¾ cup water. Process for about 30 seconds, adding more water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the mixture forms a ball and is slightly sticky to the touch. (Alternatively, you can use a handheld power beater.)
2. Turn the dough onto a floured work surface and, by hand, knead in the rosemary until the dough feels smooth. Put it in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise until the dough doubles in size, about 2 hours. (You can cut this rising time as short as 1 hour if you are in a hurry, or you can let the dough rise more slowly, in the refrigerator, for up to 8 hours. At this point, you may also wrap the dough tightly in plastic and freeze for up to a month; thaw in a covered bowl in the refrigerator or at room temperature.)
3. Lightly dust a work surface with flour. Shape the dough into a boule, sprinkling with flour as necessary but keeping it to a minimum. Line a colander or large bowl with a well-floured kitchen towel, set the loaf in the bowl, and cover with another towel (this keeps it from spreading too much). Let the dough rise for 1-2 hours.
4. About 45 minutes before the dough has risen, heat the oven to 425°F. Put an ovenproof skillet (preferably cast iron) on the floor or the lowest rack while the oven heats. If you’re using a baking stone, put it on the rack above the skillet while the oven heats; if not, line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
5. Once you’re ready to bake, slide or turn the dough out onto a lightly floured peel or flexible cutting board, seam side down, or just transfer it to the prepared baking sheet. Rub the loaf with a little flour (this helps prevent scorching) and slash the top with a sharp knife or razor blade. Use the peel or cutting board to slide the loaf onto the baking stone or slide the baking sheet into the oven. Partially pull out the rack with the heated skillet and very carefully pour one cup hot water into the skillet – this will create a burst of steam. Slide the rack back in and immediately close the oven door.
6. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, turning the bread or the baking sheet halfway through, until the crust is golden brown, the bottom sounds hollow when tapped, and the internal temperature reaches 200°F on a quick-read thermometer. If the bread is browning too quickly, lower the temperature to 400°F. Remove and cool on a wire rack.
7. When completely cool, you can wrap the spare loaf in a ziplok bag to freeze, or store at room temperature in a loose bag, cut side down. As with chocolate, we find that storage is not a problem!
Rosemary Olive Oil Bread With Olives or Tomatoes: In Step 2, knead 1 cup halved pitted oil-cured olives, roughly chopped dried tomatoes, or a combination into the dough along with the rosemary.
Olive Oil Bread With Onions and Mint: you can make this with olives too (see preceding variation), but omit the rosemary. In Step 2, knead 1 large onion, chopped, into the dough in place of or along with the olives. Add 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint if you like.
Pancetta and Black Pepper Bread: Rich, savory, and packed with flavor! You can use olive oil here if you’d rather not use the pancetta pan drippings. Make the recipe above, omitting the rosemary. Chop one pound pancetta (or fatty bacon) and cook until it’s crisp. Drain the meat and set it aside, reserving 1/3 cup of the rendered fat. If you don’t have enough, add olive oil or good-quality lard to make up the balance. Proceed with the recipe, using the reserved fat in place of the oil. In Step 2, knead in the pancetta pieces and 2 tablespoons coarsely ground black pepper. [Now, I don’t eat pork, but I think this would work equally well with duck or goose fat, if you have any to hand.]
Here is the printable recipe: Rosemary Olive Bread