One thing you should know about me is that I'm a huge bread-eater. I love bread and it's right after sushi and chocolate on my "I could live off this for the rest of my life" list. Actually, put these three at the same spot, in no particular order. I wish I could easily replace them with kale, broccoli and spinach, but alas...
A while ago, I decided to get into the whole artisan-bread making thing. I already mastered the art of making puff pastry dough, so I thought bread wouldn't be a big deal. I read books and websites about the delicate process involved in making the basic staple man has been living on for thousands of years, when they had no electric ovens with precise temperature, food thermometers, and all the fancy equipment that today is deemed by some necessary to make bread. Humpf.
Keep reading after the jump for the recipe and tips!
I finally found the recipe for a simple rosemary bread and tried it a few times, adding a small variations. The result was true perfection: the kitchen smelling deliciously like fresh, warm bread, and a delicious bread with the good home-made taste, that you just want to endlessly dip in olive oil and eat just like that.
Now, for some tips:
- Do not bother kneading the dough by hand. You'll end up with a clumpy sticky goo and hating your life. I used a food processor: it's easy, fast and clean and does get you an excellent result.
- Make small individual breads instead of one or two big loaves. For the sake of appearance and portion control.
- The recipe above says to bake the bread for 15 to 20 minutes. It isn't enough. They need a good 30/40 minutes so they're golden and fully cooked inside.
- Instead of just rosemary, you can add olives (which is what I just did), all sorts of herbs, small dices of ham, fried bacon, sun-dried tomatoes, etc. You add those in by hand, after the initial resting period, when you're shaping your loaves.
- You can also make it a sweet bread by mixing indark chocolate chips. True Heavens!
- Or nuts. Walnuts, almonds, which will go perfectly with raisins and cranberries....
- ... Use a basic mix (the one above is good (3:1 ratio of flour to water), minus the seasoning), and let your imagination run wild!