Thursday, July 20, 2006

Shine On You Crazy Salt Crystals

It's hard for me to get very excited about baking bread in the summer. While I enjoy eating bread all year round, I don't enjoy being anywhere near a hot oven (or stove for that matter) in a warm house. So I was mystified at my eagerness to try this bread recipe.

I was hoping to make something similar to the rosemary sea salt bread that a baking company out of Seattle, called the Essential Baking Company, has made for years. I'm particularly fond of the coarse sea salt they sprinkle on top. I found a recipe that doesn't yield the same results, but does make for a very light and tasty bread. I was impressed that it was quick to throw together and also did not need to sit in a hot oven for too long.

Rosemary Sea Salt Bread

1 Tablespoon dry yeast
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 cup warm water (105-115° F)
2 cups white whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon sea salt, fine textured
2-3 Tablespoons rosemary, chopped
2-3 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
coarse sea salt

To a medium sized bowl, add yeast, sugar and warm water. Let sit 5 minutes, and become bubbly. Add 1 cup of flour and mix well. Add remaining flour, salt, rosemary, 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, and enough additional flour to make a smooth dough that isn’t too sticky to handle. Knead for about 10 minutes, or until additional flour becomes difficult to incorporate. Form dough into a ball.

In a large bowl, add a small pool of oil. Dip top of dough in oil and then set upside right in the bottom of the bowl. Coat the dough evenly with the oil. Place a damp towel over the bowl and set in a warm place for an hour, or until dough doubles in size.

Once doubled, punch down and let sit another 5-10 minutes. Meanwhile lightly grease a baking pan or heat your baking stone. Divide dough in half, forming a rounded loaf out of each half. Pat more oil on the top and then sprinkle with coarse sea salt to taste. Bake in a 450° F oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until lightly browned.


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