Friday, August 06, 2010

Panmarino (Rosemary Bread)

I have a pot of rosemary growing just outside my back door, so when I saw this recipe, while browsing through one of my favorite bread cookbooks, I wanted to give it a try--especially when I saw how easy it was. In the dog days of summer, I just didn't have the energy for a full-on, two-day, complicated recipe.
Mixing milk and oil--that's about as difficult as it gets.
Well, that and chopping up the rosemary.
The dough comes together very nicely.
And shapes into a free-form boule quite easily.
Apart from the rosemary, what intrigued me about this loaf was its alleged sparkliness. The inventor of this bread, a baker named Luciano Pancalde, supposedly read a biography of the d'Este family, which told about a fabulous banquet where a rosemary bread encrusted with diamonds was served. I see some problems with this story, not least of which is the damage that eating diamond bread would do to your teeth. Luciano decided that his bread would have sea salt crystals on top and that they would "sparkle like diamonds" at a fraction of the cost. (Sea salt may be expensive, but not if you compare it to diamonds). Actually, I think that will be my new standard for deciding if something is too expensive for me to buy. I'll just ask one question: "cheaper than diamonds?" If yes, there's no reason to deprive myself.
As for the bread, I didn't really think the sea salt was going to convince anyone that I'd made diamond bread.
The salt looks faintly sparkly before baking. After baking, it looks a lot like ... salt.
It's a good bread, especially given how easy it is. However, I'll admit it doesn't surpass my own personal gold standard in rosemary bread--Rose's Rosemary Focaccia, from The Bread Bible. Once my nemesis, the rosemary focaccia has become my friend and my go-to bread for all kinds of occasions. But you have to keep trying new recipes; otherwise, you may miss the bread that's even better than anything you've ever made. This one doesn't meet that high standard, but it's certainly worth making, especially if you have a lot of rosemary and not a lot of time.

Notes: The recipe, as given, makes two loaves. I cut it in half. The recipe cautions that it is slightly large for a mixer, so if you make the full recipe, you'll have to stop now and then and push the dough down so it will thoroughly mix. That caution, and the fear of overtaxing my mixer's motor, are the reasons I made only one loaf.
For my taste, the bread was just slightly too salty. If I make this bread again, I'll cut the salt to about six grams per loaf.

Panmarino (Rosemary Bread)
--from The Italian Baker, by Carol Field

3 3/4 teaspoons instant yeast
1 cup warm water
1 cup milk, room temperature
1/2 cup less 1 tablespoon olive oil
3 1/2 to 4 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon (20 grams) salt
6 3/4 cups (900 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour

1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse sea salt

Whisk together the yeast, flour, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Using the flat beater, mix in the water, milk, and olive oil. Mix until the flour is absorbed. Add the rosemary and change to the dough hook. Knead on medium speed until elastic, smooth, and somewhat moist, about three minutes. Finish kneading briefly by hand on a lightly floured surface.
You can also knead all ingredients by hand.

Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover tightly, and let rise until doubled, about 1 1/2 hours.

Gently punch the dough down in a lightly floured surface. Cut the dough in half and shape each half into a round ball. Place the loaves on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper, and sprinkled with cornmeal.

Put baking stone in the oven and preheat to 450 degrees. Just before oyou put the loaves in the oven, slash the top of each loaf in a star shape with a razor blade and sprinkle the sea salt into the cuts of each loaf. Bake 10 minutes, spraying three times with water. Reduce the heat to 400 degrees and bake 30 to 35 minutes longer. Cool completely on racks.


Melinda said...

Good looking boule. Now that you have mastered the RLB rosemary focaccia, it is difficult to beat.
But keep on trying.
I am impressed that you baked bread in the hot weather!

breadbasketcase said...

And the oven was hot too! I just got my copy of Cook's Illustrated, which has a recipe for focaccia that they say is the best ever. So I suppose I'll have to try it eventually.

doughadear said...

The boule looks very nice and having rosemary in it is a winner for me. I really like Carol Field's
recipes for their ease.

breadbasketcase said...

Have you ever tried her Crocodile Bread? It's delicious--but not easy. My first try was edible but ugly. My second try turned out much better.

jini said...

it looks really delicious marie, but i don't have rosemary this year....the new deck project has eaten the herb garden, but i will borrow some from my neighbor. thanks for the warning about the size of the recipe!

faithy, the baker said...

looks wonderful!! btw, is your countertop marble?

breadbasketcase said...

You could even buy some rosemary!

It's granite, not marble, and I love it for baking.

Jenn said...

Marie, how do you manage to bake bread in the middle of the summer. Isn't it hot in Minneapolis at this time? I want to bake bread, but when it's 90 degrees outside, makes it hard to preheat baking stone in 450 degrees oven.
Your bread looks so perfect. I love how round it is! So do you like the Italian Baker book?

pinknest said...

The bread baking continues in August! Love it. And I think the sea salt is quite pretty on the boule.

breadbasketcase said...

The Italian Baker is one of my favorites. I got it as a present from my mother, maybe 20 years ago, and didn't pay any attention to it because I didn't bake. When I started to bake, I remembered it and tracked it down. It's got some great recipes!

Sometimes I just get so tired of seeing the same picture on my blog that I have to bake, even if it's 100 degrees outside. It might be smarter just to buy a loaf of bread and take a picture of it.

Natasha @ Saved by the Egg Timer said...

I love rosemary bread, I will have to try this very soon! Gorgeous loaves!

breadbasketcase said...

If you love bread, try the rosemary focaccia from The Bread Bible--it's the best! But this is good too, and it's easier.

Natasha @ Saved by the Egg Timer said...

Thanks, I will try both then :) Easier may be better right at the moment but who knows what my oven may decide to bake?