I haven’t been baking bread for some days now, and since I was missing the freshly baked home-made morning bread and having the need to ‘run’ my oven, I decided last night to bake a Rosemary bread. I have a potted plant of Rosemary and the leaves were also in need of pruning.
After last night’s dinner, here’s what I mixed for the ‘biga’ or the starter around 9.30 pm.
200 gm Unbleached All Purpose flour
200 gm filtered water
1/4 tsp dry yeast.
For the dough, ( made next morning):
All of the biga or starter.
200 gm Unbleached All Purpose Flour
75 gm filtered water
1/4 tsp dry yeast
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tbs freshly chopped Rosemary leaves
1 tsp mixed dry herbs.
It takes only a few minutes to make the starter, but make sure you weigh the ingredients. Mix and leave the dough which is quite wet and gooey, overnight covered with a plastic cover, on the kitchen table .
Next morning, transfer all of the starter mixture into a KitchenAid bowl, add in the 75 gm water and the additional flour, yeast and finally the sea salt. Start the KA at speed 1 and after the dough is evenly mixed after 3-4 minutes, add in the freshly chopped rosemary leaves and the dry herbs. Mix again for 5 to 7 minutes at KA speed 2 or 3, till the dough is smooth, elastic and comes off the walls of the bowl.
Let the dough rest for about 15 minutes in the bowl; and then transfer this to a lightly floured non stick surface (silicone baking sheet) and fold in several times to form a ball. Then transfer the formed dough on to a baking sheet to proof for 45 minutes to almost double it’s bulk.
Meanwhile heat up your Dutch oven to 240˚C without the cover in your oven. At the end of 45 minutes, coat the risen dough surface with a tablespoon of olive oil, sprinkle some more chopped rosemary leaves and some coarse sea salt. Score the loaf surface, and transfer the loaf into the hot Dutch oven. Cover the Dutch oven and place it back into your oven and bake 30 minutes at 230˚C.
At the end of 30 minutes, remove the Dutch oven cover and bake the loaf further for 15 minutes to brown it.
Leave the oven door slightly ajar at the last 5 mins to dry the crust to make this crispy, then transfer the hot loaf to a metal rack to cool before slicing.
“Bread deals with living things, with giving life, with growth, with the seed, the grain that nurtures. Its not coincidence that we say bread is the staff of life.”