Saturday, April 19, 2008

Recipes from Mom: Rosemary French Bread

...Otherwise known as a recipe just for Smellen.

On a recent trip I took home, I went through the oodles and boxes and swamps and piles and mountains and stacks and days of recipes collected over the last 30 years by my mom and dad. I came away with a couple good ones to try. Here's my first undertaking.

Rosemary French Bread

Active dry yeast
Two cups warm water
One tablespoon milk
Four teaspoons salt
One tablespoon sugar
One tablespoon shortening
One tablespoon olive oil
One tablespoon grated parmesan
One tablespoon minced garlic
One tablespoon rosemary (I used way more than that and a combination of fresh and dry. If you use fresh, be sure to chop it first, otherwise it'll tend to want to come out in the kneading.)

Dissolve two packages (about 5 teaspoons) of active dry yeast in two cups warm water. Stir in milk, salt, sugar, shortening, rosemary, olive oil, parmesan, and garlic. Add five-seven cups of flour (basically as much as you can get in there--I did five) and knead until stiff, smooth, and elastic. (My dough never really got smooth, but it was definitely stiff and elastic.) Cover with a towel and let rise for 90 minutes. Punch down and let rest five minutes. Divide into two equal parts. Let rest 10 minutes. Flatten and shape into oblong loaves, taper ends. Place on a baking sheet sprinkled with cornmeal. Cover and let rise two hours. Slit loaves lengthwise and bake at 400F for 25 minutes.

I didn't have cornmeal, so I greased and floured my cookie sheet. I also completely forgot to slit them. But OH WOW, this bread smelled so good and the first little taste practically melted in my mouth. Big ups to Mom, who totally knew what she was doing when she wrote down this recipe 20 years ago. Post script 2009: I inherited a baguette pan from my parents, so I use that to make this bread now. It's superbly useful. But by all mean, bake it on a baking sheet if you gotta.

The original recipe noted that it made three loaves, but I only made two. In retrospect, I should have gone for three, but it just didn't look like I had enough dough there. But I did. And if you go for the two large loaves, and you don't want them to fuse together, you should probably bake them separately.

The boring stuff:
Makes three skinny loaves, two fat loaves, four small round loaves, twenty small crusty rolls, or any combination thereof.
Difficulty: 2.
Total prep time: 45 minutes
Total rise time: Three and a half hours.
Bake time: 20-25 minutes.

P.S. It occurred to me that I haven't really addressed the latest development in my life here. Tim and I got engaged two weeks ago and we're very happy and excited about our happy and exciting future together! We're planning an April 2009 wedding. Whee!

Right before the flour goes in.Mixing in the flour.
After the first rise.
Right before going into the oven.


Stay-C said...

I absolutely love the bread Jess. In fact if you keep making it I will buy it. How much for a loaf?
I'm serious!!!
I've had it with egg scramble, split pea soup and my salad. It's wonderful and I am almost out ( :(

Ellen said...

Oh, yeah, we're going to make this for sure! I can smell it already.


jj said...

Wow ... I can just spend HOURS going through recipes, especially older ones from my Grandma.

The loaves look wonderful!

Anonymous said...

I just made this and it's a great recipe. Tastes fabulous! I plan to serve it tonight with a tomatoe bruschetta.