"With a piece of bread in your hand you’ll find paradise under a pine tree."
– Russian Proverb
I made this rosemary bread to eat at a BBQ I hosted. Bread may seem strange to serve at a BBQ, homemade bread even stranger perhaps. Here's the way I see it. When guests come over to my house, I want them to eat well. Of course you want them to eat well, you say! What that means to me is to serve food you don't normally get. Special food. What that means from one person to the next is subjective. For these particular guests, I know they like bread, for example. I also know that one of them loves dessert and goes on and on about fresh whipped cream.
So for dessert I served a homemade pound cake (recipe coming soon) topped with fresh peaches and lots of really spectacular homemade whipped cream. What made it so special is I used the best cream available to me, Twinbrook Creamery cream. Almost raw, and from Jersey cows, so it's even higher in fat content. I mean this stuff is ridiculous.
|My bread rising it's first rise|
Bread isn't really special in and of itself, but homemade bread is quite special. The smell that wafts through your house while it bakes is hypnotizing. I mean how often do you get homemade bread?
|My dough rounds about to rise for the second time|
Since I'm in the kitchen most of the day when guests come, making bread is easy. Most of the time spent is in the rising. I used a Kitchen aid mixer to knead my dough, but even if you knead it by hand, that only takes 10 minutes or so. Definitely worth it. Heck, if you have a bread machine, you could make the dough on the dough setting and just bake off the rounds in the oven.
|After the second rise, ready for the oven|
This bread in particular is crazy cheap too. I mean it's only flour, yeast, a bit of sugar, some rosemary, (My rosemary came from my garden so I didn't have to pay for it) and a little olive oil.
|After baking shortly you brush the bread with oil and top with more rosemary and some coarse salt|
This bread is well worth the little effort it takes. The recipe is adapted from Food Network's, Almost Famous Rosemary Bread. It has lots of great reviews with good reason. It's soft and tender, and fragrant with fresh rosemary. I love the crunchy bits of salt that top the bread. It can be dipped into olive oil and balsamic vinegar, or simply spread with soft butter.
|Right out of the oven!|
We ate our bread with a Caprese salad with buratta cheese and heirloom tomatoes. We drank watermelon mojitos made with fresh mint from my garden. Our dinner was kebabs on the BBQ, with 3 different homemade dipping sauces: fresh pineapple teriyaki, chimichurri, and a tzatziki sauce. It was a fun and relaxing warm summer night, filled with laughter, great friends and great food.
|Here is the BBQ where I served this bread. The salad is a Caprese salad with heirloom tomatoes, fresh basil and Burrata. It was delicious!|
Fresh Rosemary Bread
This recipe is adapted from Almost Famous Rosemary Bread from Foodnetwork.com
This recipe makes 4 small rounds
The bread is best eaten the same day it's made
1 1/4 oz. packet (or 2 1/2 tsp.) of active dry yeast
2 tsp. sugar
2 Tablespoons olive oil plus more for brushing
2 1/2 cups (312 g.) all purpose flour plus more for dusting
4 Tablespoons fresh rosemary chopped finely (if you have your own rosemary bush and it's pretty mature, use 3 - 3 1/2 Tablespoons) If you are buying it from the store, use the 4 Tablespoons. OR if using dried rosemary, use 1 Tablespoon
1 tsp. fine salt
For Topping Bread
Kosher salt or another type of coarse salt
1/2 Tablespoon fresh, finely chopped Rosemary - or if using dried also use 1/2 Tablespoon
Stir the yeast, sugar and 1/4 cup of warm water (105°–115° Fahrenheit, (41°–46° Celsius)
in a large bowl (or in the bowl of a stand mixer.) Let sit until foamy, about 5 minutes.
Add 1 tablespoon olive oil, the flour, the rosemary, the fine salt and 3/4 cup warm water; stir with a wooden spoon (or with the dough hook if using a mixer) until a dough forms.
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 with the dough hook on medium-high speed, adding a little flour if the dough sticks to the bowl, about 8 minutes.) I used a mixer with the dough hook and I needed to add a little more flour. If it feels too wet when done kneading, add more flour until it feels like dough and is not wet or sticky.
Brush a large bowl with olive oil. Add the dough, cover with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature until more than doubled, about 2 hours.
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Generously flour a work surface; turn the dough out onto the flour and divide into 4 pieces. Working with one piece at a time, sprinkle some flour on the dough, then fold the top and bottom portions into the middle. Fold in the sides to make a free-form square. Use a spatula to turn the dough over, then tuck the corners under to form a ball. Place seam-side down on a prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough, putting 2 balls on each baking sheet. Let stand, uncovered, until more than doubled, about 2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, 200 degrees Celsius, Gas Mark 6.
Bake the loaves 10 minutes; brush with the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and sprinkle with the kosher or coarse salt and the remaining 1/2 tablespoon rosemary. Continue baking until golden brown, about 10 more minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool.
I hope you love this recipe as much as I do!