Thursday, March 31, 2011

Natalie's bread

My niece Natalie brought a homemade yeast bread to my house a couple of weeks ago. I'm not good with yeast breads, never was able to get them to rise properly. But Natalie is a Montessori preschool teacher and she said that she bakes this bread with her three-year-old students so surely I can do it. (Ha! Should I consider that a challenge?)

So she sent me the recipe and I baked two loaves a couple of days ago. I didn't get it to rise really well and it looked flatter, more like focaccia than Natalie's loaves, but it was still delicious. And I'm determined to conquer this bread thing and I'm going to keep at it until I get it right. I can't let a toddler outbake me, not even a Montessori toddler.

Vegan Rosemary Garlic Bread

1½ cup lukewarm water
1 packet active yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
¼ cup chopped fresh rosemary (divided)
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups bread flour
1/3 cup olive oil
3 to 6 cloves of minced garlic
2 teaspoons kosher salt (or sea salt)

In a small bowl, mix the water, yeast, sugar, and half of the rosemary. In a separate large bowl, add 1 teaspoon salt to flour, mix, then add yeast mixture to flour. Mix slowly until the dough forms a ball.

Knead on a floured board for 10 minutes (this is when having a three- or four-year-child around comes handy). Place the dough in oiled bowl, cover, and let it sit in a warm place until it doubles in size (about an hour).

Mix olive oil, remaining rosemary, and garlic. Punch dough down, knead a few times to make it easy to handle. Shape dough into 2 loaves, place several inches apart on the baking sheet. Score loaves, pour oil/rosemary mix on top. Sprinkle each loaf with kosher salt.

Allow loaves to rise for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake bread for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

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