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Sunday
Jan132013

Rosemary Sandwich Bread

Rosemary Sandwich Bread

When I first decided to become a baker, I was convinced I would love cake decorating. I had a small artistic streak and fostered a passion for arts and crafts. Cake decorating seemed like the perfect mesh of my interests and hobbies, as if it was meant to be. I was in love with the idea before I even tried it.

My first real job in the field was baking the cakes in a small bakery specializing in its namesake, with the hopes of one day becoming a decorator myself. I took local cake decorating courses in the evenings, trying to become proficient in the tricks of the trade. After many long evenings filled with lopsided roses, uneven borders, cracked fondant, and frustrated tears, I was no longer convinced I would love—or even like—cake decorating. In fact, I was sincerely positive I never wanted to lay eyes on a flower made of frosting again.

I put my simple dreams of becoming a decorator to rest, tucking them in a box to be forgotten under the bed. Though disappointed, my love for baking had not wavered. It was time to point my heart in a different direction.

Rosemary Sandwich Bread

When I started baking breads for another bakery, my first impression left me with a cynical view and a sour attitude. The dough was ever sticky and my shoulders ached from kneading and rolling out dozens of bagels and rolls. I had a difficult time seeing the joy in the process. As the days passed, however, my perspective slowly began to evolve. I began to understand the dough, feeling the subtle changes in its texture as I kneaded it beneath my fingertips. My hands learned to conform to the character of the dough when I rolled it into various shapes. The musky scent of yeast punctuated these intimate moments, which quickly became my most beloved of all my tasks.

The dough was alive, truly alive, filled with the life my buttercream roses could only pretend to possess. Though I never anticipated it, I was smitten, enamored with the process from beginning to end. Even as I bake in my small apartment kitchen today, I can only allow a few weeks to pass before the itch to rediscover yeast surfaces.

Rosemary Sandwich Bread

Last weekend was one such instance. I bought a bundle of fresh rosemary on a whim and, still dreaming of this focaccia, I knew that the rosemary was destined to get together with a little yeast. With the addition of salt, cracked pepper, and olive oil, this simple bread became a handsome marriage of flavors. For the last week, I've been enjoying this bread, savoring it slowly, finding a new love in the cracks and crevices of the grain.

At first I wasn't sure what the Rosemary Sandwich Bread would work well with, but after a little dabbling, I discovered it is divine with nearly everything, elevating simple sandwiches to an entirely new level. I served it aside chicken noodle soup, combined with chicken and bacon to form the best toasted sandwiches, and I imagine it would be glorious soaked in mashed potatoes and gravy. I've spent so much energy in the last two days willing the bread to reappear after the last slice was gone that I've vowed to make it again this weekend (and for many, many weekends to follow).

Rosemary Sandwich Bread

Rosemary Sandwich Bread is a Mediterranean twist on the traditional loaf of bread. The final product is herbed and salty, balanced with the rich, smooth undertones of olive oil. This everyday bread has bright flavor that will go well with anything from breakfast to dinner. I strongly suggest using fresh rosemary in the bread to bring about the most vivid flavor, but dried rosemary will work in a pinch. This bread has become an instant favorite in my household and may soon become a kitchen staple.

One Year Ago: How to Make Cake Flour and Cinnamon Sugar Cake with Brown Sugar Cinnamon Buttercream
Two Years Ago: Chocolate Salted Caramel Cookies

Rosemary Sandwich Bread

Yields 1 loaf

2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 cup (235 ml) warm milk
1/3 cup (80 ml) warm water
2 tablespoons freshly chopped rosemary (or 2 teaspoons dried rosemary, chopped)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup (60 ml) olive oil
3 1/2 cups (445 grams) bread flour

In a large mixing bowl (or bowl of a stand mixer), sprinkle the yeast over the barely warm milk and water and allow to sit about 5-10 minutes until activated (looks frothy). Mix in the olive oil, rosemary, black pepper, and salt. Gradually add bread flour, mixing until the dough comes together. If the dough is too dry and will not come together, add small amounts of water until it does. Conversely, if the dough is too sticky, add flour until it becomes workable; however, do not add too much flour or the bread will become dense.

Turn out dough on a lightly floured surface and knead the dough for 7-10 minutes, or until elastic. Alternatively, using the dough hook on a stand mixer, knead the dough for 7-10 minutes, or until elastic. Cover dough with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and let rise until doubled in a warm place, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Punch down the dough before turning out onto a lightly floured surface. Shape the dough into an even log and place in a lightly greased 9 x 5-inch loaf pan. Press dough down so it reaches the corners evenly. Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise for another 40-60 minutes until doubled.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C).

Sprinkle the top of the bread dough with salt, pepper, and rosemary, if desired. Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until bread is golden and sounds hollow when tapped. Remove from baking pan and allow to cool slightly before slicing and serving.

Reader Comments (25)

What an interesting recipe for a loaf...I could certainly eat a slice or two of this with dinner...or just on it's own for that matter! :-)
01.13.2013 | Unregistered CommenterLaura Loves Cakes
What you wrote about breadmaking was really beautiful and really, really resonated with me. I feel the exact same! How can I have this skillset of patience, artistry, and baking... yet not like sugar flowers?! cake decorating?! But yeast is another story entirely. It's the smell and the tactility of the dough, and the physicality of watching it rise like magic.

I loved this phrase: 'my hands learned to conform to the character of the dough' - that's so perfectly put!

I also love the sound of this loaf. YES to this with some cream cheese and mortadella in an open-face sandwich.
You know, I barely ever bake bread at home. I mean, I do have a sourdough-baking friend who gives me her second loaves fairly frequently, so I still get home-baked bread, but still. I think I'm going to have to go grab some branches of rosemary and give this one a shot--it sounds perfect with the endless parade of soups we eat all winter. :)
01.13.2013 | Unregistered CommenterEileen
This looks absolutely beautiful. I love the smell of yeast. If they can bottle the sent of rising yeast and make it into a candle I would buy an armful of those candles.
I love your photos, you just take the best pictures. Love this rosemary bread... my mom would love this dipped in EVOlive Oil.
01.13.2013 | Unregistered Commenterhoneywhatscooking
Such a fabulous flavour for homemade bread. This sounds awesome!
I must tell you...every time i visit your page i am inspired by your creative words and imagery. Fresh baked bread is my weakness, especially those loafs that smell of fresh Rosemary. Absolutely splendid! Thank you for your brilliance and accepting your calling in life, as it truly shows through your work.
01.13.2013 | Unregistered Commenterkristin
Looks like a beautiful, simple recipe for a really beautiful loaf of bread. I'll bet it smells exceptionally good. I love this introspective post. Your blog is just wonderful. I always look forward to seeing what you've made and what you have to say.
01.13.2013 | Unregistered CommenterJane
The bread sounds fantastic! Can't wait to try.
01.14.2013 | Unregistered CommenterPurabi
I always love the idea of cake decorating but there's something so much more natural, rough and ready about bread baking. Great post and gorgeous loaf.
01.14.2013 | Unregistered Commenterthelittleloaf
Your description of bread baking is exactly why I started my blog writing about it... sometimes, there's nothing more satisfying and comforting as baking a homemade loaf. Especially when it looks (and probably tastes) as delicious as this one. Mmmm!
This looks wonderful. I have yet to master savory breadmaking - I think I always add too much flour to make it dense. Any tips on how to tell when the dough is too sticky and needs flour vs. will eventually come together through kneading?
Even though I often have mishaps, I love baking bread. It's so relaxing, focusing, cathartic. That quote you chose is so perfect - perfectly describes that feeling of presence, focus, physical being in the moment when you're growing and nurturing the loaf from simple ingredients into a beautiful result. Thank you for always adding a bit of inspiration and beauty into my day!
01.14.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDiana
"my first impression left me with a cynical view and a sour attitude"

Couldn't of said it better myself. I had such a tough time making bread when I tried it on my own. Things ended in disaster. To be honest, it really tasted just plain BAD and since I've been discouraged to even try making it again.

Well I think based on your photos it is time for me to give it another shot. I just so happen to have tomorrow off so maybe this is how I'll spend my day !!!

All the best,

Lauren
01.14.2013 | Unregistered CommenterLauren Blacker
It sounds and looks amazing. I love this kind of breads and I adore rosemary, I use it as much as possible in a huge variety of recipes... I have just discovered your blog and I am already a follower, love baking and despite of being a political sciencist , one of my wishes is to spend some time learning how to bake wonderful bread like this. You can visit my website, I have just started writing my recipes in english too.. All the best, Cinta.
01.15.2013 | Unregistered Commentercinta
I've always been a chicken when it comes to working with yeast, even though I was a bread baker at a bakery too! Pizza dough yesterday is the first time I've worked with yeast in ages...this bread will be changing that, for sure!
Ah, MFK, if only baking bread had the same PHYSICAL effects as yoga... although, when I used to work in bakeries I do remember my arms being slightly toned from all the kneading. :) Your bread looks delicious!
I just finished making your bread! Luckily I'm typing and not talking as my mouth is full!! Recipe was easy to follow, satisfying to make and delicious to eat. Even my five year old daughter is loving it! I didn't have rosemary but had oodles of thyme so I used that instead. I also made a hummus from cannellini beans which was amazing on top of the warm bread. Ok, I'll confess I also put roasted garlic and olive oil on top of the steaming, pillowy soft slices also-make this bread !!
01.19.2013 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle
This bread turned out really good... this could be the downfall of my healthy january!
01.20.2013 | Unregistered Commenterode to cake
Beautiful bread! I love rosemary in bread!
Thanks for your blog! It's so inspiring & the photos are absolutely amazing! This was my first loaf of homemade bread, it was easy to make & so delicious! Just wondering if I could add olive to this recipe & would I need to make any adjustments to the ingredients? Also, do you have any suggestions on how to make this into a lower GI version? Thanks!
01.27.2013 | Unregistered CommenterBec
Bec-- I'm happy you liked it! You most certainly could add chopped olives to the recipe--just throw in a handful or two into the dough when mixing it up. I'm not terribly familiar with low GI substitutions, so you are a bit on your own with that one. You could substitute some of the flour for whole wheat, but I would not do more than half.
01.27.2013 | Registered CommenterKristin Rosenau
I baked this last week and it is delicious. This week I want to use the recipe to make buns for hamburgers. Can I use the same oven temp or does it need to be adjusted? Thanks!
01.28.2013 | Unregistered Commentermichele
Michele-- The oven temperature can be left the same. The baking time will be different.
01.28.2013 | Registered CommenterKristin Rosenau
I just need to comment recently after I made this bread and fell deeply in love it.
So perfect for everyday - it came together like a dream, held up to my basic flour substitutions, and inspired me with lots of slight flavour tweaks. The addition of the olive oil makes it so rich and silky!
I wrote about it on my blog but made sure to link it back to you: http://www.pavlovasdog.com/2013/01/rosemary-loaf_26.html
Just awesome. I baked it today, and it's already gone. Greetings from Uruguay, South America.
03.3.2013 | Unregistered CommenterElisa

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