Do you ever walk down memory lane when you smell a certain scent? See a familiar image?
My friend posted this BuzzFeed link today on Facebook and it made me laugh. I could relate to her so much. Do you still get unreasonably excited at the sight of these? Scholastic book delivery day in Elementary School always felt like Christmas morning to me! Haha I was such a nerd.
Last weekend I had a similar experience when I sniffed the rosemary bush growing by our cabin on Bowen Island. For some odd reason, the smell of rosemary takes me back in time to tasty lamb dinners when I was younger, summer days basking in the sunshine on the cabin’s lawn, and the aroma of fresh rosemary bread. In my childhood it was an herb that my mother loved to use in her cooking, so its smell is incredibly comforting to me.
One of my mother’s favourite rosemary recipes was for “Rosemary Braided Bread”, or the “Rosemary Braid”. We would enjoy this bread with soup, stew, or on the side of a light summer salad. The fresh bread is fluffy, aromatic, with a crunchy baguett-y golden crust. Perfect for dipping into broth or for munching with butter. Delicious!
My mom either composed the Rosemary Bread recipe herself, or after years of baking the bread had it completely memorized. Either way I knew that when I had the craving to bake it myself the other day, the recipe was a simple phone call away!
Here are my notes from our chat:
One thing I promise you, is that this bread recipe is ridiculously easy! All you need are its special ingredients and you are good to go. Don’t be daunted if you’ve never made bread before! I’ve included links to help you with terms like kneading, punching down etc. Have fun!
Rosemary Braided Bread Recipe
Yield: 2 loaves. Prep Time: 2 hours Bake Time: 25 mins Oven: 450 deg.
1 and 1 1/2 cups warm water 1 and 1 tsp salt 4 tsp yeast 2 tbsp fresh rosemary sprigs, leaves only, finely chopped 1 tbsp olive oil or butter Up to 7 1/2 cups bread flour (all purpose flour is fine too) handful Cornmeal
Directions:1. Stir 1 cup warm water with 1 tsp salt and 4 tsp yeast in medium measuring cup. Water should feel warm on wrist. Not hot. Set mixture aside and let yeast fluff up. 2. Mix remaining warm water (1 1/2 cups) with rosemary, remaining salt (2 tsp) and olive oil. 3. Add yeast mixture to rosemary mixture. 4. gradually add up to 7 1/2 cups flour. Knead it in until dough texture feels stretchy and not too sticky. 5. Place dough ball in medium bowl with 1 tsp olive oil coating bottom. 6. Cover bowl with clean tea towel and let rise in warm location until dough doubles in height. (Approx 1 hour) 7. Once dough has doubled in height, Punch down bread and break into two smaller balls. Divide each ball in 3 and form into 6 long snakes. (Playdough times everyone!) Braid bread into two loaves. 8. Sprinkle two baking sheets with cornmeal and place bread on sheets. Let rise in warm location with tea towel covering them until braids look poofy (around 30 mins). 9. Preheat oven to 450 degrees and bake loaves for 18-25 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Check in on your bread! No one likes burnt bread. Halfway through baking, spray loaf crusts with water or brush with egg whites to make shiny and golden. 10. Enjoy fresh! Bread is tastiest when shared with friends day of.
Kneading the dough
The dough after rising
My favourite part! Play time.
Braiding the dough.
The rosemary braids.
The braids after rising.
Fresh out of the oven.
I hope you enjoy your crusty, fluffy loaves of rosemary bread!
PS: It’s a know fact that my brother pulls out this old family favourite from time to time to impress the ladies. Gentlemen?
PPS: Valentines Day is just around the corner. Planning a dinner in…?
PPPS..and I just couldn’t resist: Chocolate Desserts to Make your Sweetie Swoon