Fragrant rosemary is perfectly paired with olive oil in this classic Italian bread. Serve it alongside butternut squash soup, or with a side of rosemary dipping sauce. The coarse sea salt brings out a depth of flavor and a light crunch with every bite.
Makes 12 servings or one 9" x 12" pan
- 1 cup warm (105-115 degrees F.) water
- One .25 oz. packet (2-1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
- 1 teaspoon granulated white sugar
- 1/4 cup + 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon + 1 tablespoon coarse sea salt
- 3 cups unbleached white flour (can be part whole wheat flour)
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds, optional
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
- 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese (or grated cheddar)
- 1/4 cup oil-packed sundried tomatoes, chopped
In a large mixing bowl, pour in the water and sprinkle the yeast on top, and give it gentle stir. Allow the yeast to activate for about 2 minutes; it will look foamy. Stir in the sugar and let it "grow" for another 5 minutes. Add 1/4 cup of the olive oil and 1 tablespoon salt and blend, either by hand or with a dough hook. Add the flour in increments, 1/2 cup at a time, until it all blends together and forms a sticky, yet pliable, ball.
Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead, adding just enough flour to keep it from sticking to the board. Knead until it does not need more flour, and when you press two fingers into the dough it bounces back, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a warm, draft-free location while it rises until double, about 1-1/2 hours. Punch the dough once to deflate.
Lightly oil a 9" x 12" low-sided baking dish. (Optional: Sprinkle sesame seeds evenly on the bottom of the pan.) Transfer the dough to the pan and gently press and stretch with your hands to evenly fit the dough into the pan, pressing it into all four corners. Place in a warm, draft-free location, and allow the dough to rise again until almost double, about 45 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Press your fingers evenly across the top of the dough to create about 12-15 indentations on the surface. Pour the olive oil across the top and scatter the fresh rosemary, sundried tomatoes and remaining 1 tablespoon coarse sea salt. Once oven is pre-heated, slide the pan into the hot oven and bake 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.
Remove from the oven and serve hot with the rosemary dipping sauce, below.
Rosemary Dipping Sauce
Makes 1/4 cup
Combine in a small bowl:
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons chopped rosemary
- 1 tablespoon chopped sundried tomato or garlic
Ellen Ecker Ogden is the author of The Complete Kitchen Garden (Abrams Books 2011) and The New Heirloom Garden (Rodale Books 2020) featuring garden designs and recipes for cooks who love to garden. She lectures widely on The Art of Growing Food, to bring more art and style into the potager garden. www.ellenogden.com
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