This week I received some lovely fragrant Rosemary in our Bountiful Basket. I will use it with a pasta dish later this week, but really wanted to try using it in a bread as well. The recipe I have been eyeing for a while is found in a lovely book called “The Secret of Challah” by Shira Wiener and Ayelet Yifrach. I bought this book because I was sure it must contain the perfect Challah recipe. The Challah I will tackle later, for today we made Rosemary Bread and it turned out wonderful. The rosemary, being fresh, is fragrant rather than pungent. Try it and let me know your thoughts……..
I tweaked the original recipe a bit. This is my adaptation…
2 packets of Active Dry Yeast
3 tablespoons sugar
1/3 cup Olive Oil
1/3 cup Olive Oil
2 full tablespoons rosemary leaves (no stem)
2 ½ cups warm water
3 cups Whole Wheat flour
4 cups bread flour
1 ½ teaspoon salt
I used my food processor for the sponge and added it to the bread flour and salt in this manner:
To a large food processor bowl add first the water (hot tap) and then the sugar, olive oil, and rosemary. Pulse several times to blend the ingredients and chop the leaves. The addition of these ingredients will cool the hot water down to just warm – now it is time to add the yeast and pulse two times quickly. Let the liquid and yeast rest for 5 minutes and then add the whole wheat flour. Pulse until well blended. Allow this mixture (called a sponge) to rest for about 5 minutes.
In a separate large bowl whisk the bread flour and salt.
After the sponge has rested, slowly add it to the flour and salt bowl. Fold the sponge into the flour with a spoon until it becomes stiff and from that point on, knead until you get a smooth ball of dough that is not sticky.
Brush the ball of dough with a bit of olive oil and place in a bowl.
Cover the bowl with wax paper or plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm place for approximately 1 hour until the dough doubles in volume.
After the dough has risen, slice it in half.
Knead each half for a few minutes and form a loaf and place in pans. They should each reach half the height of the pan.
Cover and let them rise in a warm place for approximately ½ hour. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
When the loaves have risen above the top of their pans, brush with olive oil and slit each loaf with a very sharp knife. You can make one long slit along the length of the loaf, or a number of diagonal slits, or whatever design you fancy.
Bake for approximately 50 minutes. The bread is ready when a firm outer crust is formed and tapping on the top of the loaf produces a hollow sound. Remove the bread from the oven and from the pans and cool on a wire rack.
Enjoy with butter and a little honey.
The Secret of Challah