Saturday, January 17, 2009

January 17, 2009

I find it much easier to make this delightful bread when my assistant is away on a vole hunting trip. This time, she insisted on helping!

Rosemary garlic bread is one of my all time favorites. It's a wonderful accompaniment to simple soups and to lavish salad main courses. An added bonus is the way it smells up the house while it bakes. It's best made with fresh rosemary if you have it, but dried works just as well, especially if you rub it between your hands to bruise it nicely before adding. For simplicity's sake, I'll use the dried amounts in this recipe.

I am a huge fan of garlic, so you might adjust this as well, to your own tastes of course. I also always use fresh ground black pepper and fresh ground Meditteranean sea salt. I can taste the difference. Maybe you can't and if that's the case, then use what you have on hand.

You can use this recipe in a bread machine or make it the traditional way. I like to shape round loaves and bake them on a cookie sheet. But I have made it this last time in the bread maker and it was wonderful.

The ingredients are:

1 cup warm, not hot, water (Note-hot kills yeast. Everytime.)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 tsp white sugar
1 1/2 tsp fresh ground sea salt
1/4 tsp basil
1/4 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp frsh ground black pepper
2 TBSP dried rosemary
2 tsp minced fresh garlic
2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp active dried yeast

After getting the cat out of the bowl, rinse it well. Pour in the water and stir in the sugar until it dissolves. At this point "proof " your yeast by mixing it into the water/sugar mixture. Let it stand about 5 minutes or until you can see the yeast activity starting to bubble. Now you know that your yeast is good and you won't waste all the rest of the ingredients on a loaf that will not rise. (Trust me-I have done this a dozen times! It's very frustrating.) I never trust yeast anymore. I want PROOF!)

Once you've done that, add the olive oil, the herbs and spices, and start stirring in the flour. It will be a wet dough. If you're using the bread machine you'll never know this, but if you're doing it by hand, you'll think it needs more flour. IT DOES NOT. After the flour is mixed in, knead it until shiny and elastic. Put in an oiled bowl without a cat in it, cover with a dish towel and put in a warm place. Let it rise until double in bulk, about an hour and a half probably.

After the first rising, punch it down and make it into a ball. Or put it into a loaf pan if you prefer. Do anything you want with it. Sometimes I bake it in soup cans if I'm taking it somewhere with a soup or stew. Just make sure you oil the pan you use. Let it rise again until about double and then pop it into the oven and bake it at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes. When it comes out, brush the top with melted butter. Let it stand for at least 15 minutes before slicing into it, if you can. If you can't--then dig in. Rip off chunks of it. Butter it, or dip it in olive oil.

Let me know how you like it. I think it's fabulous. My second favorite bread is sun dried tomato and basil. We'll do that one another time.

Bon Apetit !

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