Peasant Bread, Page 199, August 7, 2017

This loaf is referred to in the cookbook as “a simple country bread.”  Instead of butter, this recipe uses olive oil as the fat element, so it is considered a “lean” bread.   Ms. Hensperger notes that the final product will vary slightly depending on the type of olive oil you use.  French is acidic and fruity, Spanish, smooth with an olive flavor, Greek is thick and robust while Italian is fruity and clean.  I am varying the recipe a bit more by using a rosemary-infused Greek olive oil I have on hand.

Into the bread pan, I placed the following:

1 1/2 cups water

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 teaspoons salt

1 tablespoon sugar

4 1/4 cups bread flour

1 tablespoon gluten

2 1/2 teaspoons SAF yeast

The dark crust and French bread settings are recommended.  However, it is noted that you can use the basic cycle provided you stop the machine after the second knead, unplug it, and start the cycle again, which will allow the addition knead required for French breads.  The dough ball should be smooth, slightly moist and springy.

Once the cycle was completed, I immediately removed the loaf to a wire rack and let it cool.

IMG_8109[1297]

This loaf baked up nicely with a golden crust and rounded top.  I didn’t notice a strong rosemary flavor or scent, but I did appreciate the flavor imparted by the olive oil itself.  This recipe produced a chewy, delicious and flavorful bread.  I may try it in the future with another variety of olive oil, just to see if I can discern a difference.  If any of you try making this, let me know what olive oil you use, and how it turns out.

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Rosemary-Golden Raisin Bread, page 352, July 26, 2015

I was a little concerned when I saw the title of this, I imagined coming across rosemary leaves in a slice of bread and didn’t think I would like that.  After reading the recipe, those fears were laid to rest in the first step.

Magical step 1, in your food processor, combine 1 cup bread flour and 1 teaspoon dried rosemary.  Pulse to pulverize the rosemary. There, problem solved, the rosemary is so thoroughly chopped and blended with the flour, no needle like leaves will end up in the loaf. Other than the worry about large pieces of rosemary leaves, the flavor combination here sounds really good.  I can’t wait to get feedback on this loaf.

This is a loaf that starts in the bread machine, and then bakes in the oven. Into the pan of my bread machine, I added 2/3 cup water, 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, 2 large eggs,1 1/2 teaspoons salt, 2 cups bread flour, the bread flour/rosemary blend from the first step, 1/3 cup nonfat dry milk, 1/4 cup sugar, and 2 teaspoons SAF yeast.  (No added gluten for this recipe, either.)  I then set the machine for the dough cycle and let it go to work.

While the machine was working on my dough, I prepared a baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper.  After the dough cycle completed, I used my dough scraper to turn the dough out onto my clean board.  (Now, the recipe doesn’t say anything about flouring the surface of the board to prevent sticking, but I did anyway.) I then patted the dough out and sprinkled the raisins on top.  Next I folded the dough over and kneaded the ball by hand to incorporate the raisins.  The dough was then shaped into a ball, brushed with a light coating of olive oil, and covered loosely with plastic wrap.    I left the dough to rise for 1 hour (until it was doubled in size.)

Twenty minutes before the rising time was up, I preheated the oven to 350 degrees. When the dough had fully risen, I transferred it to my parchment lined baking sheet  and, using a sharp knife, slashed an X on the top.  I then put it on the center rack of my oven for 30 minutes. IMG_4367 I feel almost guilty trying to tell you all how good this smells.  Then I remember, I can’t eat it either, so I am torturing myself as well.  It just came out of the oven, and while it is not terribly pretty, it does smell fantastic.  The sweet raisin and savory rosemary blend nicely.  I will let you know what the tasters think later.

I cheated and shared a slice with mom, it was so good.  I picked out the raisins, and had a slice toasted with a bit of cottage cheese.  Yum.  Here are the comments from Becky’s co-workers:

“My favorite so far! Love it as is, but would be good with honey or jelly.”

“This bread would be amazing with honey”

“Really good!  Smells amazing would be good cooked like French toast.”

And from the staff at Oceanside Animal Hospital:

“Yum!”

“Would be great toast!”

“Good toast with butter and coffee in the AM!”

“I loved the hint of sweetness with Rosemary.  Would be lovely breakfast with jam.”

“Loved it! Very delicious”

“The best!  Wouldn’t change a thing.  My only complaint is I only got on piece.”

Alright then, this one is definitely a winner.