This LA Girl just experienced her first Midwest winter. I’ve been told it was a “mild winter,” but it was cold and snowy enough for me and for my little, Southern California Mini Cooper.
While my car craved a new battery, tires, brakes and fluids, I craved carbs!
What is it about carbs that is so comforting? Is it the warmth? The feeling of fullness after eating them? The satisfaction of eating something just so yummy? I’m not sure, but I do love them!
When it comes to carbs, I love nothing more than a warm, fresh from the oven, loaf of bread.
As I mentioned, it was cold and snowy. I had zero desire to go outside. Thank goodness I was working from home! However, there are certain disadvantages in that. If I was confining myself to the house, I had to find a way to get a hot loaf of bread.
That’s when the idea came: I had to make my own.
I never made bread before. I don’t own a bread machine. Regardless, I was determined to do it.
Coming from Los Angeles, I have a fondness for La Brea Bakery bread. My favorite is the rosemary olive oil bread. I’ve used it for Thanksgiving stuffing and have eaten it on its own. This was the bread I wanted to make.
I researched bread recipes and how to make it, then I gave it a try.
Surprisingly, it was so easy! The hard part was kneading the bread by hand. What a work out! My muscles actually shook after. Of course, half way through making the bread, I remembered the hook attachment on my Kitchenaid specifically designed for dough. I used that the next time.
The worst part of making the bread was smelling my house fill up with its delicious aroma. It was pure agony to wait for it.
Finally, it was done…and it was glorious! The crust was crispy while the inside was soft and doughy. It was warm, comforting and full of flavor. The addition of olive oil and balsamic made it irresistible and absolute heaven on a plate. I lapped it up and wanted more. So, I made another loaf.
I’ve made it several times since and will continue to make it. Had I known bread was so simple to make, I would have started making it a long time ago.
- 1 cup warm water
- 1 ½ teaspoons active dry yeast
- 2 ½ cups bread flour
- 1 ½ teaspoon salt (+ a dash for Step 7)
- 1 ½ teaspoons sugar
- 3 tablespoons olive oil (+ 1 tablespoon for Step 7)
- ¼ teaspoon Italian seasoning
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon dried rosemary
- Prep the yeast: combine yeast and warm water. Let it sit for 10 minutes.
- Add flour, salt, sugar and oil. Knead until all ingredients are completely blended (about 10 minutes, if done by hand).
- Add in Italian seasoning, rosemary and pepper. Knead for another 5-10 minutes.
- Place the dough in an oiled bowl and cover it. Let it rise for an hour.
- Punch the dough down and form the bread in the shape you would like it to be in. Cover it and let it rise for another hour.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- Brush the dough with olive oil and sprinkle with coarse salt.
- Bake for 20 minutes. Sprinkle with water twice during this time to make the crust crispy while the inside stays soft.
- Set the oven to 425 degrees and bake for another 10 minutes, sprinkling once with water.
- Remove from the oven and let cool.