Last weekend, I felt selfish. I didn’t outright beg my friend to change his evening plans to eat dinner with me, although the thought crossed my mind. But his college buddies rarely come to town, so I sat (almost) sulking at home while he enjoyed a guys night out.
After about 5 minutes, my childish self-pity dissipated into an urge to bake. Despite hiding my selfish thoughts when we talked on the phone, they still tied my stomach up in knots that only a gentle bread kneading could undo.
Knowing that I speak through baking, I apologized by adding a few of his favorite aromatics to the dough and carefully monitoring the golden crust developing as the loaf baked in the oven. By the time the buzzer dinged and I presented my friend with the bread, I turned my frown upside down—and had a delicious-smelling home to prove it!
Rosemary and Garlic Bread
makes 1 loaf, serves 10-12
Feel free to add more spices and mold the loaf into your favorite shape—round, long, or in a loaf pan.
1 c. warm water
3⅛ tsp rapid-rise yeast
¾ tsp salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 sprig rosemary, chopped
3 c. all-purpose flour, plus extra for kneading
2 tsp milk
- Add the water, yeast, and salt to a large bowl and stir to break up any clumps. Mix in the garlic and rosemary. Stir in the flour, ½ c. at a time, until a dough forms.
- Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface, and knead until the dough springs back when you press your finger into it. Shape the dough into a ball. Lightly coat a large bowl with nonstick cooking spray, and place the dough ball inside, turning the dough until it’s coated with the oil. Cover and leave in a warm place to rise for 20-30 min, or until doubled.
- Punch the dough down, then let it rest for 10 min. While it rests, lightly coat a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray. Roll the dough out into a large rectangle, and roll up, starting from the long end. Seal the edge of the dough with water, and place the loaf on the prepared sheet, seam-side down. Let it rise for 20-30 min or until doubled.
- While the dough rises, preheat the oven to 375°. Once the dough is ready, slice 4 deep indentations into the top using a sharp knife, and brush the top with the milk. Bake for 20 min, brush with milk again, and bake another 20 min, or until the crust is golden brown. Remove from the oven and turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.