Being from Texas, I can’t help but get excited once we have the slightest bit of cool weather. It makes me want to start cooking every single winter recipe I can get my hands on. I love taking advantage of not having to worry about turning my oven on for extended periods of time. I make coffee at all times of the day and start looking around town for different pumpkin and fall flavored drinks/desserts/winter vegetables, etc.
I also like to bring out my collection of soup recipes and get busy in the kitchen. What’s perfectly paired with a nice bowl of soup?
A nice, hot loaf of homemade bread!!! One of the best things about this bread, other than taste, is how quickly it can be prepared. Other than the time it takes to rise, this bread can be prepared in about 10-20 minutes.
I was cruising the net looking for a rosemary bread similar to the one they serve at Macaroni Grill and came across a recipe on Allrecipes.com (It’s called Jo’s Rosemary Bread). The recipe was designed for a bread machine, so I decided to adapt it for those of us without bread makers…plus, I just like getting my hands dirty in the kitchen! Some of us never grow up!!! (Like the time I flew a kite at midnight in my pajamas, running up and down the street trying to get it to fly to make sure my high school project got a good grade. So….maybe this is a topic for another conversation. Start by proofing the yeast in water mixed with a little sugar. Add the olive oil and the rest of the water after 5-10 minutes of proofing. Chop the rosemary very fine. (A big thanks goes to my mom for this rosemary from her garden!!! Love ya, Maudy!?)
In a large bowl, mix together flour, salt, pepper, Italian seasoning and finely chopped rosemary.
Add the yeast mixture to the dry ingredients and get your hands in there and get messy!!!!
I continue mixing with my hands until them mixture is almost entirely incorporated and the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
From here, I move to a floured surface and continue to knead my bread until it is smooth, approximately 5 minutes or so. If your mixing bowl is fairly clean, oil the inside of the bowl fairly well and place dough in bowl to rise for one hour.
During this time, the bowl should be covered by a towel and left undisturbed in a warm area like the kitchen. After one hour, punch down the down and knead on your floured surfaced for a few minutes. Place dough in a well oiled bread pan to rise for another hour, covered and undisturbed just like the first time.
And sprinkle with salt.
UPDATE: I ran out of bread flour one day and had already started mixing the other ingredients. SOOOOO, I decided not to waste everything and try making the recipe with all purpose flour. I worked just fine!!! I’m actually glad that happened because now I don’t have to buy specific flour to make one of my favorite breads!
1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons white sugar
1 cup water water
2 1/2 cups bread flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon dried rosemary
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning
3 tablespoons olive oil
Mix yeast, sugar, and warm water in a small bowl. Let sit for 5- 10 minutes while you prepared the dry ingredients. Mix flour, salt, rosemary, pepper and italian seasoning.
Add the olive oil to the yeast mix and stir to combine.
Add the yeast mixture to the flour mixture (get your hands messy!) and combine until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
Knead on a lightly floured surface for about 5 minutes.
Place in a well oiled bowl and completely cover with a towel for 1 hour.
Punch the dough down. Return to the floured surface (making sure to lightly flour it again) and knead for another few minutes. Place into your oiled baking dish and cover with a towel to rise once again for another hour.
Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with coarse salt, making sure not to puncture the dough because it will deflate.
Bake at 375 until browned, approximately 30 minutes. Serve with olive oil and fresh cracked pepper or a mixture of a little pesto with olive oil.