This bread makes a lovely centerpiece and a fragrant addition to any meal.
- Yield: Makes two 10-to-12-inch round loaves
Source: Martha Stewart Living, March 1997
- 1/4 cup warm water
- 1/2 package (1 1/4 teaspoons) dry yeast
- 1/2 cup milk, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup water, at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 1/2 tablespoon fine salt, plus coarse for tops
- 2 1/2 to 4 cups cake flour (not self-rising), or all-purpose
- 4 sprigs fresh rosemary
- Coarse salt for tops
Preheat large bowl by filling with hot water; discard. Pour in warm water. Sprinkle yeast over; let stand until creamy, 10 minutes. Stir in milk, room-temperature water, oil, and salt. Add 1 cup flour; whisk until smooth. Incorporate flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until dough comes together and pulls away from side of bowl.
Turn out onto well-floured board; knead until velvety and soft but no longer sticky, 6 to 8 minutes. Add more flour as needed.
Place dough in lightly oiled bowl; coat. Cover tightly with plastic; let rise in a warm spot until doubled, about 1 1/2 hours.
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Turn out dough on floured surface; divide into two pieces, shaping each into a ball. Place on oiled 12-inch-wide pan; with oiled fingers, press into 10-to-12-inch circles. Cover with plastic; let rise 30 minutes.
Dimple dough with your fingertips, drizzle with oil, cover with moist towels, and let rise again for 10 minutes.
Chop rosemary coarsely; sprinkle over tops. Sprinkle each loaf with teaspoon of coarse salt, if desired. Bake 25 to 35 minutes, spraying with water a few times in first 10 minutes. Bake until bottoms are golden. Transfer immediately to cooling racks to prevent crust from getting soggy.