Thursday, October 27, 2011


I've only recently started making bread. Yesterday, I made a Hearty Beef & Barley Stew for tonight and thought that serving it with freshly made bread would be fab. I was right.

I'm glad I started early enough in the day, because this Martha Stewart Olive Oil Bread recipe is so time-consuming! Plus, I didn't have enough yeast, so I had to walk over to our neighborhood market to buy more  (I walked when it was grey and drizzling a bit. I was listening to Bowie's "Let's Dance" -- it was a great trip!). The neighborhood market only had 'instant' yeast, but after some online research and a panicked call to my friend Jim (Me, to Jim's voicemail: Jim. It's me. I have a yeast problem. (Pause). I'm making bread!), I took my chances and used the instant stuff*.

So, you throw flour, yeast, olive oil and water into a KitchenAid mixing bowl,  mix it with a wooden spoon and then let it rise for 1 hr, 15 min.

My recipe doesn't call for the addition of rosemary, but knowing that I was going to serve it with the stew -- and while talking to my friend Jim about the finer points of yeast -- I decided to throw some in since rosemary was still abundant in our herb garden. 

First rise

Next, you mix the sticky dough in your KitchenAid with the hook attachment, knead it by hand for a few minutes, and then put it in a large, lightly oiled bowl to double in size (about an hour). After that, you fold it and let it stand for 15 minutes. Then, you transfer to a pizza peel covered in corn meal, let it stand for 30 minutes and then slide it into the oven, onto a pizza stone, and bake at 450F for about 35 minutes.

On the pizza peel

Sliding the dough off the peel and into the oven (onto a pizza stone) is pretty easy if you use the corn meal generously.  I checked the bread twice -- once at 15 min and once at 30 min, and since it wasn't burning (I checked the bottom, too), I allowed it to cook for an additional 5 minutes so I wasn't unpleasantly surprised to find raw dough half-way thru the bread. 

I am a rosemary junkie: the addition of rosemary to this wonderful bread is ideal.  I can hardly wait to have rosemary toast and poached eggs for breakfast tomorrow morning!

Here is what our dinner looked like...

Carlo is stuck at school for Film Night. He called as we sat down, so this was his 'serving' for the evening while we all caught up. He picked a bad night to miss dinner. :(

What a successful day of cape-making and bread-baking!

*Instant yeast, it seems, is different from Active Dry Yeast in that it doesn't have to be proofed. You just get to throw it in with all the other ingredients and it does it's thing.

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