There is something so comforting about homemade bread. Even better if you are the one to add the homemade. Add in the chuckle your boyfriend gets every time you say the word comforting, and you have a good use of a lazy weekend!
I was kind of feeling kind of wimpy this weekend, not really sick, not really healthy. I downed a bunch of Emergen-C, made some soba noodles with far too much spice, and of course some homemade rosemary bread. Now if you live in the Seattle area, you know this weekend's temperatures averaged right around 80/85 degrees during the day, but it was fall heat and still chilly in the shade! lol... Well at least the warm temperatures helped the bread to rise!
Rosemary Wheat Bread
(Adapted from the Art of European Bread Baking)
1 1/3 cups warm water (105 - 115 degrees ***this is very important, use a thermometer!***)
1 package active dry yeast
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for greasing the bowl
1 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
2 tsp coarse salt
1 tsp sugar
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups white flour
In a large mixing bowl, combine water, yeast, olive oil, rosemary, salt and sugar. Let mixture stand for 5 minutes.
Using a wooden spoon add in wheat flour and then the white flour 1/2 cup at a time. Stir until most of the flour has been absorbed and a rough ball has formed. Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface (I usually use white flour for this bit, but you can really use whatever you have, generally wheat will absorb more liquid more quickly). Knead dough until a moderately stiff, smooth and elastic ball forms. Lightly grease a mixing bowl with olive oil, place dough in the bowl, and turn once to coat the dough. Cover the bowl with a saran wrap and place in a warm spot to rise until doubled (45-60 minutes).
I like to put my bread on the back burner of my stove while cooking or baking something else. the ambient heat (as long as it isn't so hot as to cook the bread/kill the yeast) really helps the rising process.
Punch the dough down, and let it rise for another 30 -45 minutes until again doubled in size.
Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees, and score the bread every inch or two with a sharp knife. (I've read this prevents a mid-baking bread explosion)
For baking, I have baked on a parchment lined cookie sheet, or if you have it a pizza stone also works really well (I also topped the pizza stone with some parchment paper).
Whatever you use, toss the bread into the oven at 425 for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes lower the heat to 375 degrees and bake for another 20 minutes.
If you are craving a crunchy crust, you can lightly spray or brush the bread with cold water every 3 minutes of the first 10, but I must warn you, I don't like crunchy crust, and have never tried this part of the recipe! :)
When the bread is done, thump it like a melon, it should sound hallow and be golden brown.
I hope you enjoy!