Um, hello?…yoo hoo…'scuse me…but you can take your nose off the monitor. No matter how hard you press, you're not going to be able to smell that loaf of bread.
At least, not that way. You'd be able to smell it really well if you make it, though, and if you are a fan of rosemary and garlic, then you really should.
I first made this bread about…um…yikes, about 15 or 16 years ago or something like that. Ugh. I'm kind of regretting the math at the moment. Anyway, I remember it distinctly because I had recently moved into an apartment in Warwick, to be closer to the job I had at the time, and I'd been trying to survive with a futon for a bed, but the cheapo one I'd bought wasn't doing it, so I went out and bought a bed, just like a real grown-up. The mattresses were due to be delivered that day. The bed frame (which I'd bought at a different store) was either already there or was coming another day. So I was home, and I figured I'd make bread while I was waiting.
Also, my friend, Sheila, was home – either living in RI at the time or home on a visit – I don't remember that part – and she was going to come up to visit. I remember this part because back then I didn't drink coffee much, and I certainly didn't make it when I did. I don't know why. I'd been a tea drinker for the longest time, and was in transition to coffee. Or something. Who knows. But for whatever reason, I owned coffee and a coffee pot, and so when Sheila arrived, I made coffee. And it was horrible. HORRIBLE. Watery and awful and not even worth trying to fix. My coffee failure haunts me to this day. Sheila, I'm so very very sorry.
The bread turned out okay, though, I think. I have no anxiety attached to it, anyway, so I'm pretty sure it was successful.
So that's the great big long back story here.
The recipe comes from a book I've mentioned several times here – Bernard Clayton's New Complete Book of Breads.
Let's begin with the ingredients…
2 1/2 cups bread or all-purpose flour (I used all-purpose)
2 pkgs dry yeast (I used 5 teaspoons)
2 teaspoons salt (I think it could have used a tad more)
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
2 cups hot water (120 degrees F - 130 degrees F)
1/4 cup olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced (I smashed them first and then minced them. It's way more satisfying!)
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley (didn't have it, didn't use it)
3 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary (or 1 tablespoon dried) (I used dried, which had originally come fresh from our garden and has been hanging in the kitchen since the fall. Yay herbs in the garden!)
Here, below, is the rosemary, chopped up.
The salt and pepper.
Julia arrived as I was about to begin, and she wanted to help, so after I sent her off to wash her hands, she was back…and helping.
The first thing we did was combine a cup each of the whole wheat flour and the all-purpose flour in the bowl of our big Kitchen Aid mixer. To that, we added the rest of the dry ingredients – the yeast, salt, and black pepper.
Then we poured in the hot water and mixed it in a bit.
Then it was time to add in the rosemary and the garlic.
By the way, have you ever tried chopping dried rosemary? It flies everywhere because it's brittle and built like pine needles, rather than thin and leafy.
After I'd chopped it up and chased down all the bits that flew all over the countertop, I got the smarter idea to combine it with the garlic and THEN chop. The dry rosemary sticks to the wet garlic and nothing flies away. Wish I'd thought of this when I did most of the chopping. Oh well, there's always next time.
Here's my rosemary and garlic all chopped up together, just before Julia added it to our dough-to-be.
The smaller you chop the rosemary, the better. It's kind of sharp and not necessarily something you want a huge taste of when you bite into the bread.
Once we'd mixed the rosemary and garlic into the dough, which was really more of a batter at this point than a dough, it was time to add more flour. First, the remaining two cups of whole wheat flour.
And then, in small increments, the rest of the all-purpose or bread flour. Keep beating it in (or kneading it in, if you prefer) until you have a dough that pulls away from the sides of the bowl, or that is no longer sticky, if you're kneading it by hand.
Julia took the picture below, by the way.
Okay, once the dough is ready…
Shape it into a ball…
And place it in a greased bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set it aside to rise.
The first rise will probably take anywhere from thirty minutes to a full hour, depending on your yeast, the dough temperature, and the air temperature. I wrote the start time on the plastic, just so I'd know how long it took.
My dough had doubled in bulk.
Then I shaped it into a loaf and instead of hiding the pinched seam on the underside of the loaf, I exaggerated the pinched part and left it on top. (You could also divide the dough into two smaller portions, form them into loaves and bake them in greased loaf pans, if you'd prefer.)
Then I placed the loaf on the pan and let it rise, covered with a clean, lint-free towel, for another hour.
While the loaf was almost finished rising, I preheated the oven to 400 degrees F.
The bread baked for about 45 minutes. I rotated the pan once, after 20 minutes, checked on it after another fifteen, and let it go for another ten after that.
I cannot even begin to describe how great the house smelled, not just during the baking, but the whole time we were making the dough and while it was rising. So I won't try. But words like "intoxicating" and "heavenly" and "sublime" and "painful" come to mind. Yes, painful. It smelled so good my stomach ached with anticipatory hunger pangs.
Of course, it's also impressive just by itself, or with a light smear of butter.
The choice is yours. But only if you go on and bake this bread!