Monday, April 6, 2009

Rosemary Artisan Bread

My aunt Linda posted this recipe on Facebook and I was intrigued. Grandma and I made it when I was visiting and it was incredible! She said she has made it without the rosemary and lemon zest and it was still wonderful. Just as good as what you'd buy in a French bakery.

This bread is almost effortless to make because it requires no kneading. Instead, the dough is allowed to slowly rise over a long period of time. Then it is baked in a preheated covered cast-iron pot, which helps produce a crispy, bakery-style crust on the finished loaf.

• 3 cups all-purpose flour
• 1/4 tsp. active dry yeast
• 1 3/4 tsp. salt
• 2 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary
• 2 tsp. chopped lemon zest
• Cornmeal as needed

In a large bowl, combine the flour, yeast, salt, rosemary and zest. Add 1 5/8 cups water and stir until blended; the dough will be shaggy and very sticky. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let the dough rest at warm room temperature (about 70°F) until the surface is dotted with bubbles, 12 to 18 hours.

Place the dough on a lightly floured work surface. Sprinkle the dough with a little flour and fold the dough over onto itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest for 15 minutes.

Using just enough flour to keep the dough from sticking to the work surface or your fingers, gently and quickly shape the dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel, preferably a flour sack towel (not terry cloth), with cornmeal. Put the dough, seam side down, on the towel and dust with more flour or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise until the dough is more than double in size and does not readily spring back when poked with a finger, about 2 hours.

At least 30 minutes before the dough is ready, put a 2 3/4-quart cast-iron pot in the oven and preheat the oven to 450°F.

Carefully remove the pot from the oven. Slide your hand under the towel and turn the dough over, seam side up, into the pot; it may look like a mess, but that is OK. Shake the pan once or twice if the dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with the lid and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and continue baking until the loaf is browned, 15 to 30 minutes more.

Transfer the pot to a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes. Using oven mitts, turn the pot on its side and gently turn the bread; it will release easily. Makes one 1 1/2-lb. loaf.

Adapted from Sullivan Street Bakery (New York City) and Mark Bittman, "The Secret of Great Bread: Let Time Do the Work," The New York Times, Nov. 8, 2006.

(It was almost better the second day!)


Alisa said...

I thought I would make this today but forgot how long it takes. When did you start it and when did you eat it? I have to plan a little farther ahead than 2 1/2 hours before dinner to make this! It sure looks good and worth the planning ahead to make it.

Gail - Artist Mom said...

I made this yesterday, and we loved it!!!

I actually just found your blog, and when I saw this bread, I ran right out and bought the pan (Kitchenaid brand, 3 colors I chose red, at Costco $35.00) just so I could try it.

I bloged about making the bread (as well as a few other recipes)

I am planning on making it again tomorrow for Easter lunch at my mom's house.

Thanks for sharing


crystal said...

I cannot WAIT to try this. If it weren't 11:56pm, I'd get up and make it right now.

Almost more than the bread, I want that La Creuset pot. If someone breaks into your house tonight...well.....

crystal said...

I have to tell you, I've been daydreaming about this bread for the last week or so and I'm just a WEE bit intimidated.


crystal said...

WHY is it that I always come gaze at this post in the wee hours of the morning? I am planning to actually attempt this bread tomorrow, though. Wish me luck. Gulp.

eve said...

What do you think about using dried rosemary?

michelle said...

I've used dried rosemary and it works beautifully.

Heather said...

ok, I just took this out of the oven. Its really the first time I've ever made bread. Perhaps this was a little too much for me to take on because it didn't work. My bread really never did rise correctly but I put it in the over anyway and hoped for the best. My dough was super sticky too until I added the cornmeal not sure if it was supposed to be?? The finished bread was very crispy, maybe too crispy on the outside and was only about 2 inches high. The inside did have some nice texture but not a lot of flavor. Should I have "proofed the yeast" first? It didn't say to do so in the instructions but now I'm wondering??

Anonymous said...

I'm not a experienced bread maker. Do I follow the directions on the active yeast package and add water to the dry yeast first or put the yeast in the bread straight from the package?