Rosemary’s Baby… Or Just Amazing Bread

“People who have tried it, tell me that a clear conscience makes you very happy and contented; but a full stomach does the business quite as well, and is cheaper, and more easily obtained.”

-Jerome K. Jerome, Three Men in a Boat

Rosemary & Sea Salt Bread

(Photo courtesy of browneyedbaker until I can take my own!)

_ _Ok, so homemade bread may not be the most “easily obtained” thing, but it’s undeniably one of the simplest comfort foods… welcome to my obsession with carbs. This time last year I had never attempted to bake my own bread, and honestly the thought hadn’t really crossed my mind to try- until I came upon a recipe for homemade rosemary bread (and when I say “came upon” I mean I spend hours of my free time trolling for recipes online… that’s normal, right?) Frankly I was intimidated; I have a complex about being bad at things, which I’m sure is very Freudian but I wouldn’t know because I failed Psyche101. In any case, I didn’t run straight to the kitchen, but instead allowed the idea to percolate. That night, rosemary baked goods Freddy Kreugered my dreams (it’s a verb, trust me I’m an English major); I was positive that if I didn’t make this bread immediately I would die. Yes, die. So with the help of Pam Tolbert [hi mom!] who was nearby to keep my confidence high with comments like “don’t TOUCH it! The yeast is supposed to look like that,”  I tentatively stepped into the world of homemade bread… and I’ve never looked back.

_ _I do have to give a huge shout out to my life-saving Kitchenaid mixer, because since that first day I’ve tried making bread the old fashioned way, and when I do, I weep; I gnash my teeth; I cross going to the gym off that day’s “to do” list… it’s just way more work. But whether or not you have said mixer, the smell of delicious, baking rosemary bread wafting through your house will make all the effort worthwhile. Just go make it. Now.

_

Makes: 2 loaves

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Ingredients:

1 tbsp yeast

1 tbsp sugar

1 cup warm water

2½ cups flour

1 tsp salt

3 tbsp rosemary, chopped

2 tbsp butter

_

1. Add yeast and sugar to water and allow to sit for about 3 minutes, until bubbly.

2. Pour yeast and water into mixing bowl, mix in 1 tablespoon butter, salt and 2 cups of flour.

3. Add 2 tablespoons of chopped rosemary.

4. Use dough hook to knead for about 5 minutes until smooth and elastic, adding more flour if necessary.

5. Oil a bowl and put dough in it, turning to coat in oil. Cover bowl with a towel and allow to rise in a warm place for 1 hour.

6. Punch dough down and divide in half onto greased cookie sheet.

7. Sprinkle remaining rosemary over the loaves and push into surface of the dough.

8. Allow dough to rise (under the towel) for another 45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375°F

9. Brush the dough with a little milk or egg to give it a nice brown crust. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until lightly browned. Brush with remaining butter and sprinkle with sea salt.

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