Several years ago I had bought a bunch of rosemary, and after I’d added it to the required recipe, it was just sitting there unused in the refrigerator. I wasn’t sure what to make with it, until I recalled how much my kids enjoy the rosemary bread they serve at the Macaroni Grill restaurant. I’d never baked bread before, but since I had nothing to lose (except for the rosemary in my fridge), I went online to search for a good recipe. I experimented, tried, tasted and tested a number of recipes until I finally came to the perfect ratio of ingredients.
Initially I made the bread completely with All Purpose flour, because that is how they have it at the restaurant. After I made it a few times, I added in garlic, used dried rosemary at times, switched out some of the white flour for whole wheat and recently, thanks to the surplus from my veggie garden, added in a few cherry tomatoes as well.
The basic dough recipe is very versatile – you could add any herb or seasoning to it. Thyme, chopped olives, green onions or red pepper flakes would all taste good. Perhaps a little bit of cheese on top might work as well. However, I urge you to try the recipe as is first, perfect it, and then move on to experimenting.
My kids like to eat this bread with a pat of butter, or served at dinner with a casserole or pasta. It’s best fresh, warm out of the oven. But if you have extra loaves, make sure to cook and cool them completely, and then put them in the freezer in a sealed bag. When you need the loaves, place them in a pre-heated 350F oven for about 10-12 minutes, and they’ll taste as good as fresh.
This is how the bread is made:
1. Take 1 cup of lukewarm water. Add 1 tbsp yeast and 1 tsp sugar. Mix. Keep aside.
2. In a large mixing bowl measure out : 1+3/4 cup All purpose flour, 1.5 cup Whole wheat flour, 4 tbsp chopped rosemary, 1 tsp salt, 3 cloves grated garlic. Mix.
3. Add the water+yeast to the dough. Pour in 3 tbsp of olive oil. Knead the dough for 5 minutes until it comes together in a ball. Cover and let it rise for one hour.
4. Once the dough has risen, press it down with your fingers. (Optional Step : Add in half a cup of chopped cherry tomatoes, and mix well)
5. Oil a baking tray, shape four small loaves out of the dough and place them on the greased tray. (If any tomatoes fall off, place them on top of the loaf.)
Cover and let the dough rise, for a second time, for 40 minutes.
6. Pre-heat oven to 350 F.
7. Uncover the risen loaves. Make indents across each loaf with your knife. Sprinkle 1 tbsp of chopped rosemary and 1/2 tsp salt over all the loaves. Bake for 20-22 minutes until golden brown.
8. Once they are baked, slather the tops with butter and serve warm.