Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Rosemary/Olive Oil Bread

Sometimes, I forget to make a preferment ahead of time, or decide I want a loaf on the spur-of the moment. This olive oil/rosemary bread can be made quickly and still has many of the qualities an “artisan” loaf would. While it does not have a chance to fully develop flavours an overnight preferment would lend, it is a pleasant enough loaf to accompany most meals. Grilled, it makes a terrific pannini bread. A word of caution-it tends to go stale quickly, so use it within a day or so.
You Will Need:

3-4 sprigs of fresh rosemary, chopped
2 cups lukewarm water
2 teaspoons granulated yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
5-6 tablespoons olive oil
4-5 cups bread flour

Proof the yeast in a large bowl with the sugar. Add olive oil and rosemary. Add flour and salt until you have a rather wet, sticky dough. You should be able to work it, but take care not to add so much flour that it becomes stiff. Place in a greased bowl, cover, and let rise 1 hour. Gently de-gas and fold in 3rds like a letter. Then fold the sides in the same manner. Return to bowl. Repeat this again in another hour. Let rise additional 30 minutes or until just about doubled in bulk.

Shape loaf (or make two smaller ones) and place on a cornmeal dusted pan. Set timer for 30 minutes. When 30 minutes are up, place a roasting pan in the bottom shelf of the oven and pre-heat to 450 degrees F. Set timer for another 20 minutes. Check loaf and if it is nearly doubled in bulk, score the loaf and toss a cup of water quickly into the oven (stand to the side as you do this. Place the loaf in the oven and set timer for twenty minutes. After twenty minutes, rotate the pan, and bake another five to ten minutes or more until an internal temperature of around 200 degrees F. The loaf should be quite dark, and sound hollow when rapped on the bottom with knuckles. Cool completely before slicing.

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