Thursday, April 19, 2012

Rustic Rosemary Bread (a la Macaroni Grill)

Anyone who's had the pleasure of dining at Macaroni Grill has had the experience of this bread. They bring the hot fragrant loaves straight from the oven to your table endlessly. Imagine my delight when I realized how easy it was to recreate at home! Yeast breads can be a bit daunting, but for the most part I would consider this a fool-proof recipe.
Chock full of rosemary, chewy soft on the inside and buttery brown on the outside, the only way to top that is to tear off a piece and dip it in olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and cracked black pepper. Serving it on the side of this dish makes my life complete.

Rustic Rosemary Bread
{Recipe from Mels Kitchen Cafe}

1 T instant yeast or 1 1/2 T active dry yeast
1 T sugar
1 1/2 cups warm water
2 3/4-3 1/2 cups flour (I was good at 3 1/4 cups)
1 1/2 t kosher salt
1 1/2 T dried rosemary, chopped
1/2 t garlic powder
2 T butter, melted
coarse salt for sprinkling (kosher or sea salt)

Combine yeast, sugar, and warm water in the bowl of mixer. Let stand 5 minutes. With paddle attachment on low, add salt and 2 cups of flour. Mix for 2 minutes. Add dried rosemary and mix. Add remaining flour, a little at a time, until a soft dough that clears the sides of the bowl is formed. The dough should be a little tacky while still being smooth and soft. Knead dough using dough hook for another 4-5 minutes. You may add a little extra flour as needed during this time.

Allow dough to raise in a lightly greased and covered bowl until doubled in size, between 1-2 hours (mine was ready at 1). Once doubled, gently deflate the dough and divide into 2 equal parts. Shape each dough ball into a round loaf and place on a silpat lined baking sheet, side by side with plenty of room in between. Using a brush, slather the 2 T of melted butter equally over each loaf. Continue brushing until butter is gone, the loaves will be saturated. Cover the loaves with lightly greased plastic wrap and allow to rise until nearly doubled again, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Carefully remove plastic wrap from loaves and sprinkle each loaf with a little bit of coarse salt. Bake loaves for 14-20 minutes until browned and baked through. Remove from baking sheet and serve warm with a mixture of equal parts extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar and some fresh ground black pepper for dipping. We like to just tear chunks off our loaf to dip, but you could always slice it.

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