Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Much-Awaited Rosemary Peasant Bread

This is the best bread ever. Most of the time when I ask my husband what he wants for dinner he says, "Anything with Rosemary Bread." I'm pretty sure my friend Becca drew my attention to the recipe several years ago, and it was probably the first real bread I ever made on my own--before this the prospect always scared me to death! It's so easy because it's no-knead; you just mix and let it rise a few times and you're done. Usually I mix everything initially using the dough hook of my Kitchen Aid, but you can do it just as well by hand if you need to.

I've tried really hard to find out who came up with this recipe originally, but to no avail. It's been copied and pasted like wildfire across the internet. This is how I like to make it. Using just a quarter wheat flour doubles the fiber content of this bread. This recipe is vegan and has only trace amounts of fat. One recipe makes two bread rounds that can fit together on a cookie sheet. I've made the serving size a fourth of a round because it's so good you can't eat any less than that! If you wanted to get creative, you could use whatever herbs you wanted inside and on top.

Just a few more tips: Don't feel too bad about greasing your hands and the tops of the loaves as otherwise this bread has no fat in it. You want to grease your hands rather than flouring them so that the dough remains sticky and moist (it doesn't need more flour). You need to grease the tops of the loaves for the second rising so it doesn't stick to the plastic wrap and remains moist.

Rosemary Peasant Bread

Dissolve together until foamy (about ten minutes):
2 1/2 tsp dry yeast
2 c. very warm water
1 T sugar

Add and stir until blended, but do not knead:
2 tsp salt
1 c whole wheat flour
3 c white flour
1 1/2 tsp rosemary

Dough will be sticky. Cover bowl with a damp towel and let rise in a warm place for 1 hr. Grease your hands well and remove dough from bowl. Divide into two rounds and place on a prepared cookie sheet (grease the cookie sheet and sprinkle with corn meal). Spray the tops of the loaves with cooking spray (so they won't stick when covered) and sprinkle with coarse salt and more rosemary. Cover loaves lightly with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for another hour.

After the second rising, bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes. Then reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees (without removing bread) and bake for 15 minutes more. Delicious served warm with fresh soup (like Golden Chowder--yum!) or dipped in olive oil and herbs.

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