Prep 3 hrs
Cook 1 hr 15 mins
Adapted from Gourmet magazine. I have had this one in my files for ages and decided to share. This is a great choice for a dinner party or a romantic meal. I tried this with dried herbs and used half the amount when fresh was not available (Herbes de Provence is also a nice choice - again, using half the amount as the fresh). Prep time includes 30 minutes of actual prep work and the rest of the time is rising time. This makes two round loaves, about 10 slices per loaf.
- 3 1⁄4 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1 cup lukewarm water (120F)
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1⁄3 cup olive oil
- 1⁄4 cup fresh rosemary or 1⁄4 cup fresh lavender blossoms, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 6 3⁄4 cups all-purpose flour (approximately)
- yellow cornmeal, as needed
- coarse salt, for sprinkling on loaves (optional)
- spray bottle filled with cold water, for spritzing loaves
- Combine yeast and lukewarm water until well blended and let sit about 10 minutes- it should look foamy and thick (if your water was too hot or your yeast is bad, it will not get foamy and you'll need to start over).
- Combine buttermilk, oil, rosemary (or lavender), 1 Tbsp plus 1 tsp salt in a mixer bowl, then add the yeast mixture and combine well.
- Add flour gradually, beating slowly until enough flour has been added to form a dough ball that leaves the sides of the bowl in one mass.
- Dump any remaining flour onto a flat surface, dump dough onto that surface, and with floured hands knead dough until smooth and elastic, about 5-10 minutes.
- Set dough into a large greased bowl, flip dough over to grease both sides, cover with plastic wrap and set in a warm place to rise until doubled in bulk- about 1 1/2 hours.
- On dough has risen, place dough onto a floured surface and cut into equal halves and form each half into a round loaf shape.
- Set loaves onto a large greased baking sheet dusted with cornmeal.
- Cover with a clean, slightly damp towel and let rise 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
- Using a serrated knife, slash the top of each loaf with an asterisk (*) pattern and sprinkle each with a little coarse salt (optional).
- Bake in center of the preheated oven for 15 minutes, spritzing occasionally (at least 2-3 times).
- Continue baking another 45-55 minutes (no more spritzing) or until the loaves sounds hollow when rapped on the bottom and they appear golden brown.
- Let cool on racks completely.
Great bread. We used lavender from the garden and everyone enjoyed this bread. So glad we have an extra loaf for the freezer.
(09/03/2012) I am an avid baker of cookies and cakes but I have never baked my own homemade bread. While on a trip in Sonoma, I bought some loose lavender blooms at a winery. I searched high and low for a good bread recipe that didn't require a bread machine. I followed the directions exactly.... BY THE FAR THE BEST BREAD EVER! Crunchy, crispy crust, and a light, airy inside with a perfect amount of lavender! I ate it straight out of the oven with a dab of butter. I would recommend this recipe to any level baker. :)