One of the things I love about bread is that it is so incredibly versatile. Take a basic bread recipe and add whatever you like and it will transform into something else entirely. I had a bunch of beautiful rosemary that I wanted to use this weekend, and it popped into my head that I would love a nice simple rosemary bread to dip into some of the good Tuscan extra virgin olive oil.
I also love how the aroma intoxicates the air. Yeast is one of my favorite perfumes. This recipe really couldn't be easier. It is a bread making basic, with minimal work and maximal satisfaction.
The crust is very soft for this one, so if you prefer it a little crispy, try brushing with an egg wash at the end, instead of the olive oil. It is also great toasted on the second day. Recipe after the jump:
1 tablespoon yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup warm water
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tablespoon kosher or sea salt, plus additional for sprinkling
4 tablespoons rosemary, finely chopped
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, separated
Combine yeast, sugar, and warm water in a large mixing bowl and allow to rest until foamy. Add in 1 TBSP olive oil, salt, and 2 cups of flour. Stir to combine, then add 3 TBSP of the rosemary. Knead for about 10 minutes by hand until smooth and elastic, adding up to 1/2 cup additional flour if the dough is too sticky. Shape dough into a ball and place into an oiled bowl, turning to coat. Cover with a towel and allow to rise in a warm place for 1 hour, until doubled in size.
Punch down dough, then separate in half. Shape each half into a small football shaped loaf and place on a greased baking sheet. Sprinkle the top with the remaining rosemary. Cover with the towel and allow to rise another 1 hour, until doubled.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake loaves for 20-25 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven and brush with remaining one tbsp of olive oil, then lightly sprinkle with salt. Allow to cool before slicing.