This has been by FAR the best bread I’ve made. The other ones have been good, but I don’t think I’d have chosen them over bread I could buy at a bakery or get at a nice restaurant. But this bread…It’s definitely up there. The first two were supposed to be “easier” breads, while this one is a more traditional recipe involving kneading, rising in an oiled bowl, punching it down, rising again then baking. Maybe it’s just me, but I didn’t find this bread any more difficult than the other ones while the pay-off was definitely worth it. No matter what, in making bread you’re going to have to do a little mixing with your hands and waiting and I’ll take 10 minutes of knead time versus 20 hours of rise time any day. Please make this bread. It’s very yummy and not at all challenging!
I did deviate slightly from the recipe by using fresh rosemary instead of dried (just because I wanted to smell fresh rosemary in my kitchen) and dried thyme instead of basil (just because that’s what I had). I also forgot about roasting the garlic beforehand so instead I just chopped up a few cloves and sprinkled them over the top before baking with additional fresh rosemary and basil.
1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
1 cup warm water, 110-115F
2 tsp white sugar
2 tsp fine salt
3 TB extra virgin olive oil
2 1/2 cups bread flour
1 TB dried rosemary
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 head roasted garlic
extra olive oil for brushing on top and serving
coarse sea salt for sprinkling on top
clean water in spray bottle
1. In large bowl, sprinkle yeast into 1 cup warm water. Mix in the sugar and salt. Let sit for about 10 minutes or until it foams.
(Or do like me and wait 2 minutes, get angry because it doesn’t foam and you think the yeast you bought a month ago is already inactive, proof another batch, get frustrated because that’s not foaming either, go play with your new kitten to calm down then come back and realize maybe you should have made having more patience your new year’s resolution instead…)
2. Add in olive oil. Add flour and knead for about 10 minutes. Add rosemary, black pepper, and oregano. Knead another 5 minutes. Finally, gently knead in roasted garlic by hand, about 1 minute. Place dough ball in well oiled bowl and thoroughly coat it. Tightly cover bowl with cling wrap. Place in warm, draft-free area to rise until dough is doubled, approx. 1 hour
Once again, I warmed up the oven slightly, put the dough on the top shelf and poured boiling water into a large cast iron skillet on the bottom shelf. It definitely more than doubled in size.
3. After dough is doubled, punch it down and shape into a rounded loaf. Using sharp knife, make a criss-cross design on top. Place rounded loaf on greased baking sheet. Cover up loaf with large mixing bowl inverted over it. Let rise until doubled again, approx 1 hour.
4. After dough has doubled again, gently brush with olive oil, sprinkle with coarse sea salt and a bit more rosemary. Bake at 375F for 25-30 minutes, spraying loaf with water once during the middle of baking. Bump oven up to 425F and spray loaf with water again.
In my case, I think the bread was done after the 30 minutes at 375. I bumped it up to 425 for a few minutes but took it out almost immediately because it was turning too dark so be really careful at this step.
I recommend serving this with Carraba’s style bread dipping sauce. What you do is mix together:
- 1T: crushed red pepper, crushed black pepper, dried oregano, dried rosemary, dried basil, dried parsley, minced garlic
- 1t: garlic powder, salt
Then store in a container and when ready to serve add 1T of mixture to a plate and cover with olive oil