Hello again! Thanks for joining me for this final post in my Return to Home Cooking Series 🙂 On Tuesday I wrote about store bought bread, sugar, anti-nutrients, and getting back in the kitchen to create lasting memories with your family. If you missed that post you can find it here.
I’m going to dive right in to today’s post!
This bread is one of our family’s favorites. It’s savory, smells amazing while baking, crunchy on the outside, and soft on the inside. If you or your family don’t like garlic, just leave it out. We love garlic so I always add it, but it is equally delicious with just rosemary if you prefer. And please, please, use fresh rosemary. It will not be as good with only dried. I’ve tried it, trust me.
Grab your ingredients, measuring cups, and let’s get started!
Ingredients Yield: 2 round loaves
- 1.5 cups warm water (not hot! The yeast can and will be killed by too hot water. 100-110°F is best. And yes, I used to measure with a meat thermometer.)
- 1 rounded teaspoon active dry yeast
- 2 scant teaspoons of sugar (this is to feed the yeast. Use coconut sugar, brown sugar, or maple syrup. Basically whatever you have on hand.)
- 3.25 – 3.75 cup (Spooned & Leveled) Unbleached, Unbromated All Purpose Flour *see note about amount of flour below in additional notes section
- 3 tbsp good extra virgin olive oil
- 1 – 1.5 tbsp minced fresh garlic (up to 2 tbsp if you love garlic!)
- 1 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
- 1 tsp Italian Seasoning
- 1 rounded teaspoon sea salt
- 8-12 turns of fresh cracked black pepper
- Add yeast into bowl and pour warm water over the top. Add sugar and stir gently. Leave in a warm-ish place to proof for about 10 minutes. If your kitchen is cool, leave for 20 minutes. (See the foamy stuff in the picture above? That’s the yeast doing their work.)
- Once yeast mixture has proofed (start over if you don’t see any activity from the yeast), add in all remaining ingredients and stir with a spatula until to comes together to form a shaggy dough.
- If your dough seems too wet here, add more flour by the tablespoon until it starts to come together to be more cohesive and less wet.
- Attach dough hook to your stand mixer and lock bowl into position.
- Turn on mixer to lowest setting and allow to knead for 2 minutes before adding more flour. If dough looks wet and its staying in the bottom of the bowl, add more flour, 1 tablespoon at a time.
- The dough should “climb” up the dough hook and pull away from the sides of the bowl relatively cleanly. A bit of dough will remain in the bottom of the bowl in a circular shape, this is normal.
- If you need to add more flour, use your instincts! Don’t overthink it. I like to add more flour then set a timer for 1 or 2 minutes and let it mix it all in. If you add more flour prematurely you will have a dry dough.
- Do not knead dough with your mixer for more than 5-6 minutes. It will be tough if you let it go for too long.
- Once dough has come together and climbed up the dough hook, oil your hands lightly and remove the dough from the hook and bowl and shape into a ball.
- Oil that same bowl lightly, put dough ball back in and roll around to coat with oil.
- Cover bowl with a clean, damp towel and set bowl aside in a warm place to rise for 1-2 hours. Dough should double in size. If your kitchen is on the cool side the dough will have to rise longer.
- Preheat oven to 375-400°F (If your oven runs hot, stick with 375.)
- After dough has risen, punch down with your fist and gather it all together, again rolling into a ball.
- Separate the dough into 2 relatively even pieces and shape the first ball into a round loaf. Set on to a baking sheet. I like to use a silicon mat, but parchment paper is fine as well. I do not recommend aluminum foil.
- Shape second ball of dough into a round loaf and set at least 3-4 inches apart from the other loaf.
- Now you have 2 options. You can cover them and leave them to rest for another 45 minutes, or put them right into a hot oven. Sometimes you will find that your dough will spread sideways instead of rise up when it is unsupported by a baking dish. If you choose to leave and cover, please use plastic wrap as the dough will stick to your towel (trust me, this is not a good thing).
- I usually have my oven preheated and just pop the dough right into the hot oven to cook. It rises again in the oven and poofs up nicely.
- No matter which option you choose, make sure your oven is nice and hot before you put them in and only have the oven open for as long as it takes you to put the pan in. This will retain the heat and your bread will rise better and maintain a better shape.
- BEFORE placing the dough in the oven, brush with a high quality olive oil and sprinkle on some Italian seasoning and/or salt.
- Bake at 375-400° for 25 minutes and check. If the loaves are getting too brown, turn oven down to 350°. It’s ok to open the oven at this point, pull out the sheet and check.
- Continue baking at the lower temperature for at least 15 minutes, possibly 25. The bread is done when the top is golden brown and emits a hollow sound when tapped on the bottom. Be careful tapping as bread will be very hot!
- Let rest on a cooling rack at least 10-15 minutes before slicing with a serrated bread knife. Please do not use a regular chef’s knife as you will smoosh your beautiful loaves!
- Store covered on the counter for 3-4 days (if it lasts that long!). You can also let the second loaf cool completely then wrap well and place in the freezer.
- Why the wide range of flour measurement? Depending on the levels of humidity in the air, you will need more or less flour. We live in a very moist climate and most days I need more than 3 1/4 cup flour. If you live in a dry climate, start with just 3 cups of flour, mix, and see if you need to add more. You can always add more, but you can’t take away. It is much easier to add more flour to dough that is too wet than to add more liquid to dough that is too dry. You’ll just have to trust me on this.
- If you are just learning to bake bread and prefer to buy the packets of yeast instead of a jar, just substitute one packet of yeast for the 1 rounded tsp as listed above.
- If you do not have a stand mixer like a kitchen aid, you can still make bread, you will just have to knead by hand. Rather than explain this myself I encourage you to head over here to learn more.
That’s it! If you have any questions feel free to leave them in the comments below and I’ll see what I can do to help out. If you are interested in baking, but still feel a bit intimidated, head on over to King Arthur Flour and poke around. That site is what got me into baking bread in the first place and it is an incredible resource. Happy Eating! ♥