Fresh Rosemary Bread and Thoughtful Gifts !

I'll be the first to admit that I don't possess a green thumb. My knowledge of gardening is practically zilch  but that doesn't stop me from dreaming of going to my imaginary herb garden and just picking a few and incorportaing them in my bakes. My imagination is quite vivid and advanced in that regard-- I can even smell the fresh herbs lending a heavenly aroma to my kitchen . What pure bliss can I conjure ..right ? Anyways, coming back to reality , the closest I come to getting this spiritual experience is when a good friend takes pity and gifts me some fresh herbs. That does happen and I bless them a million times.

My latest blessings were for a friend who sent me some fresh romsemary from her garden . The sight of them sent me into a baking frenzy . Make it bread baking frenzy . There is no other bake that can do justice to rosemary than freshly baked home bread, The aroma and flavor are simple divine not to emntion the extreme satisfaction you get from baking your own bread . I now quite a few people who would like to bake bread but get too intimidated by the process. That's where I don my bread fairy avatar and try my best to help . My blog post is a humble attempt at the same.

The key to baking bread is making sure that the yeast does it's magic . Very often people tend to use hot water and that kills the yeast . Warm water is ideal and best way to ensure a good rise is to stir in the yeast in 1/4 th cup of water and 2tsp of sugar till bubbles form . Let stand till foamy (about 5 minutes ) then mix the rest of the ingredients and knead it into dough . Leave it to "proof" for an hour till it doubles in size and then  gaive it the desired shape and again let it "proof" for an hour . The second proofing is very essential for a good bread bake.

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup water divided
2 tsp sugar 
1 1/4 oz yeast packet
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp olive oil
4 -5 tbsp fresh rosemary (use less if putting dried rosemary )
extra olive oil , kosher salt and rosemary for topping
Take a bowl and stir in the yeast , sugar to 1/4 cup warm water . Let stand for 5 minutes till you can see bubbles rising.

Now, add the flour , 1 tbsp oilve oil ,rosemary,salt and the remaining 3/4 water and stir it all in .
Now , we need to knead the dough . You can either use teh stand mixer with the dough attachment  and let it do it's job for 8 minutes or use your own hands. I have made this both ways with beautiful results.
Transfer the dough into a greased bowl . Cover it and keep it in a warm place to rise for atleast 1 hour.

 For me it took close to 90 minutes to double in size.
Divide the dough into four equal parts as shown. Now, form free forming balls by taking one dough at a time. folding the top and the bottom in teh middle  the sides as well to form a square . Turn the dough over  and then tuck the sides to form a ball.
Repea the steps with the remaining dough to form four balls . Take two baking trays lined with parchemnet paper and put the balls , two each on either and let rise uncovered for another 1 hour.
This is how they should look after second proofing. Now, bake them at a pre heated 400 degrees F or 205 degrees C oven.
After 10 minutes, take them our, brush the remaining olive oil and more chopped rosemary as well as coarse salt. Transfer the oven and bake for another 10 minutes.
Cool on a wire rack and enjoy fresh !


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