I love the plethora of rustic breads that are available nowdays at many local grocers. It used to be that you had to hunt to find a good European-style bakery to enjoy truly good bread. In my neck of the woods, good bakeries are few and far between. So I'm thrilled that I can pick up beautiful loaves of crusty, fragrant bread anytime I want. Well, maybe not ANYtime ..........
............ have you noticed the crazy expensive price on these types of bread? Wow, even though the cost of raw ingredients has gone up quite a bit in the past few years, it still costs pennies to make this delicious bread. Not only do you get the satisfaction of making your own bread, but the incredible aroma wafts through every nook and cranny of your home, drawing the family and neighbors in as if you were the Pied Piper!
I was inspired by this recipe from Allrecipes although I made quite a few changes; I used brown sugar instead of white, a bit less olive oil and formed it into a round loaf rather than using a loaf pan. I also used my own technique for baking the bread as the Allrecipes version calls for using a bread machine If you have a bread machine, feel free to use it either to knead the dough or for the whole process. Which ever method you use, I promise you won't be sorry you made this fabulous bread and you can expect rave reviews!
P.S. A boule is just a fancy French name for a round, squashed ball shaped bread.
The Café's Olive Oil & Rosemary Boule
1 cup warm water, 110-120 degrees, Use a thermometer to make sure your water is not too hot or too cold, this is the one thing yeast is fussy about!
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 teaspoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoons salt
¼ teaspoon Italian seasoning
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
2 ½-3 cups all purpose flour
1 egg, mixed with 1 tablespoon of water for wash
fresh rosemary, coarsely chopped
1. In a small bowl, combine the warm water, brown sugar, and yeast. Stir until yeast and brown sugar are dissolved. Let sit until bubbly, about 8-10 minutes.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer combine salt, rosemary, seasonings, olive oil, and flour. Add the yeast mixture and mix with dough hook until it forms a ball.Continue to knead with dough hook for 5 more minutes, adding a bit more flour if dough is too loose.
3. Place the dough in a lightly greased blow; cover; and let rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
4. Punch down the dough and, on a floured surface, form it into a round or oval shaped loaf. Place a piece of parchment paper on a pizza paddle (or peel) and sprinkle lightly with cornmeal. Place dough on top of parchment paper, cover with a light kitchen towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.
5. While dough is rising, preheat oven to 450˚F with a pizza stone on the middle rack and an empty sheet pan on the lowest rack . Once the dough has risen, gently brush the top with egg wash and sprinkle with sea salt and dried rosemary.
6. Slide parchment paper (with bread on top) onto stone. Toss about 1 cup of water onto baking sheet on lower rack (this will form steam which will help the bread to have a nice crusty outside). Immediately reduce oven temperature to 400˚F. Bake on stone for about 15-20 minutes or until the top is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped. Remove from oven and place on cooling rack. Serve warm or let cool down and slice for sandwiches, etc.
Adapted from Allrecipes