Rosemary Olive Oil Bread

READY IN: 48hrs 25mins
YIELD: 2 Loaves




  • ADDITIONAL INGREDIENT: 2 cups basic bread sponge (from my basic bread sponge recipe).
  • I made this with the originally recommended amount of salt. I'd suggest halving the salt unless you like really salty bread.
  • Measure the rosemary *after* chopping.
  • In a bowl, dissolve the yeast in the water. Allow to proof for three minutes.
  • Stir the sponge and 3 tablespoons oil into the water, breaking the sponge up using your hands or a spoon. Stir in the rosemary and salt.
  • Add 3 cups of the unbleached flour, the whole wheat flour, and salt and mix, scraping and folding until the dough gathers into a single mass which will be wet and sticky with strands hanging from your fingers.
  • Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and allow to rest for 3 minutes. knead in as much of the 1/3 cup of flour as is required to make a smooth, elastic and only slightly sticky dough (use as little flour as is possible). Shape into a ball.
  • Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, brush the top of the dough with additional oil, and cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
  • Remove from the refrigerator and allow to warm-up in a draft-free spot for two hours.
  • Sprinkle a baking sheet without sides generously with cornmeal. On a floured work surface, halve the dough and then shape one piece into a ball, pressing to remove any large bubbles at the edges. Place the dough-ball on the baking sheet, being sure to put the seam on the bottom. Repeat with the second ball, leaving 3 to 4 inches between the two. Cover with plastic and allow to rise until doubled, in a draft-free location. This should take 2-2 1/2 hours. These loaves will be flat and wide.
  • Preheat the oven for at least thirty minutes along with a baking stone or tiles on the middle rack to 425. Place a baking pan with decent sides on the bottom shelf. Boil two cups of water. Brush the loaves again with oil and then, using a razor blade, make a tic-tac-toe pattern in the top of each of the loaves - do not tear the dough, you want to cut it. Pour the boiling water into the baking pan. Slide the loaves off the sheet and onto the stone.
  • Bake for 20 minutes, reduce the temperature to 350 and then bake for another 30-35 minutes until the loaves are a light golden brown and hollow sounding when tapped on the bottom. When done, brush with additional olive oil and transfer to cool on a rack.