The fragrant aroma of rosemary used to greet me every time I walked out my front door and down the walkway. Until this past winter that is, when my huge rosemary bush bit the dust.
The rosemary bush grew beside the rose bush which is right next to the driveway. It started out as a little plant, but kept growing and multiplying until it got huge. I had to prune it and dry the herbs frequently so it didn’t take over the front walkway.
Whenever I baked bread or made a dish that called for fresh rosemary, it was so convenient to just walk out the front door and cut a few springs. The plant had faired well the past several years, but this winter was just too much for it. It froze and never came back to life. I had to let it go. (Sad face)
I miss my rosemary bush so I just bought a new plant. This time, I’m going to plant it in my herb garden so it has plenty of room to grow without my neighbors wondering what has taken over my front walk. The herbs in my raised bed are doing very well so I think the rosemary plant will like it there.
Now I’ll have to walk around the corner to cut a sprig or two, but it’ll be nice to go for a walk in the garden even if that garden is just a few raised beds.
Sourdough Asiago Rosemary Spelt Bread
Makes: 1 large loaf
I enjoy using rosemary in breads because it enhances the flavor, especially when paired with olive oil. Ever since we made the Potato and Rosemary Bread in the BBA Challenge, I’ve had a fondness for breads flavored with rosemary.
This bread is infused with flavor due to the fresh rosemary, but it also includes cracked black pepper and Asiago cheese. I super charged it further by making it with sourdough instead of dried yeast.
The dough is filled with cheese and herbs on the inside and sprinkled with more cheese on the outside. This gives it a crispy and cheesy crust and a fluffy crumb. It tastes great plain or used as a sponge for dipping in olive oil.
- 2 cups sourdough starter, 100% hydration, recently fed
- 1/2 cup warm water (105° to 110°) *
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cups white Spelt flour, more for sprinkling if necessary
- 1 cup whole grain Spelt flour
- 1-2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 tablespoon cracked black pepper
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded Asiago cheese, divided
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
* If using regular bread flour instead of Spelt, increase the amount of water used. Add it gradually, a tablespoon at a time.
Day 1 – Morning: Feed your Sourdough Culture
Refer to this post on how to activate a starter or feed your starter according to your feeding schedule. Just make sure it’s 100% hydration.
Day 1 – Evening: Mix the Dough/Bulk Ferment
Combine the active sourdough starter, warm water, and olive oil in a large bowl. Mix with a wooden spoon to break up the starter.
Stir in the flours and next 3 ingredients until a soft dough forms. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead in 1 cup cheese; knead 5 minutes or until smooth and elastic.
Shape dough into a ball, and place in a lightly greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover with plastic wrap and let it proof overnight at room temperature, about 70 degrees F. The loaf should double in size during the bulk ferment.
Day 2 – Morning: Shape & Retard Loaf in Refrigerator
Ease the dough out of the bowl onto a floured working surface. Let it rest for 30 minutes, then shape the dough into a round loaf and place it in a lined or unlined floured banneton basket. Place the basket in the refrigerator to retard for at least 5 hours. I did this in the morning and baked the loaf in the afternoon.
Day 2 – Afternoon or Day 3: Score and Bake the Loaf
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. for at least 30 minutes with the Emile Henry Bread Cloche on the bottom rack.
Remove the loaf from the refrigerator and gently flip it onto a round piece of parchment paper cut to fit the bottom of the bread cloche. If you prefer, skip this step and just flip the loaf onto the preheated cloche bottom sprinkled with cornmeal.
Score the loaf using the pattern of your choice. Make 3 or 4 (1/4 inch wide) slices into top of loaf. The dough is really easy to score after it’s been retarded in the refrigerator.
Combine the egg and 1 tablespoon water and brush on top of dough. Sprinkle the loaf with the remaining 1/2 cup cheese.
Carefully remove the bread cloche from the oven and gently slide the loaf (on the parchment paper) onto the preheated cloche base. I used a pizza peel to do this.
Bake covered with bread cloche dome lid, 30 minutes, then remove the lid and continue baking for 10 to 15 minutes longer, or until loaf sounds hollow when tapped. Let it cool completely on a wire rack.
This sourdough bread is a cheesy and rosemary delight. Because of the oven spring, the loaf took over the base of the cloche.
I especially enjoy baking bread on the weekends and allowing the dough to slow ferment to bring out the flavor and nutritional properties of the bread.
Over the years, I've become enamored with grains.So you'll find me experimenting using different types of heritage and ancients grains.Sometimes it works; sometimes it doesn't, but it's all part of the experience.I invite you to join me on this bread-baking journey.
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