To say that I am disappointed is a gross understatement. Those of you who have been reading my blog know my love affair with rosemary. I love the taste, the smell, the versatility. I love that is evergreen. I love the beautiful purple blossoms. I love that the deer don't eat it. And, I didn't lose a few 6-inch herb pots. These were large, well-established friends who had reigned in a corner of my garden for many years.
But, there still is one. One hearty soul survived. I've trimmed his branches and when the weather warms (and dries out) a bit more, I will replant and give my old reliable friend some new cousins with which to share the garden.
I mentioned versatility. I've used rosemary in cookies and scones, salads, soups, stews, and (of course) in meat dishes. The stems, stripped of their leaves, make wonderful skewers on the barbecue. But today I want to focus on bread. A dear friend at church told me that she had recently begun reading this blog. She admitted that she, like me, is a carbo-holic. She loves cookies, cakes, pastas, and bread. So Mary, this blog's for you!
Rosemary French Bread
2 pkgs. dry yeast
2 cups warm water
1 tablespoon dried rosemary
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon dry milk powder
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon dark corn syrup
1 tablespoon shortening
1 clove garlic
7 to 7 1/2 cups flour
Dissolve yeast in the 2 cups of warm water in a large mixing bowl. Let sit about 5-10 minutes or until foamy.
In a small bowl combine the dried rosemary and olive oil.
Stir the dry milk, salt, corn syrup, shortening, rosemary/oil mixture, and garlic into the yeast in the bowl. Mix thoroughly. Add 7 cups of flour. Knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. You might need to add up to 1/2 cup more flour.
Place dough in a greased bowl. Cover and set in a warm place* free of drafts and let rise 90 minutes. Punch down. Let rest 5 minutes. Divide into 2 rounds. Shape into oblong loaves and place on greased baking sheets sprinkled with cornmeal.
Cover and let rise 2 hours. Bake at 400 degrees about 25 minutes.
* I have a tried and true method for proofing yeast dough. I turn on my oven to it's lowest setting (about 200 degrees F) for just one-half minute. And then I turn off the heat. That's just enough time to create a warm environment for yeast dough to rise. Turn on your oven, wait one-half minute, and then place your dough in a clean, greased bowl into the oven and wait. You'll be amazed at what happens.