Rustic Rosemary Sourdough Bread

This Rosemary Sourdough Bread recipe produces a superbly crispy crust with a soft and chewy interior.  The flavor and fragrance are simply heavenly!  It also freezes well so feel free to make an extra loaf while you’re at it to conveniently have on hand.

And for a sweet sourdough bread alternative, our Cinnamon Raisin Sourdough Bread is positively swoon-worthy!

rosemary sourdough bread recipe homemade rustic artisan crusty

I can’t think of anything that beats the smell of yeast bread baking in the oven.  The fragrance has a hypnotic way of luring people into the kitchen, taking slow and deliberate whiffs along the way.  This rosemary sourdough bread has that effect on our family.

Why Sourdough?

Sourdough has been used for eons, at least since the ancient Egyptians, and serves several valuable purposes:  1) The wild yeast and bacteria in a sourdough starter cause a chemical reaction through the fermentation process  that breaks down some of the proteins and carbohydrates in the flour (interestingly, some celiacs are able to eat sourdough bread).  2)  This process also produces enzymes that breaks down phytic acid (which inhibits the body’s ability to absorb nutrients) and increases the body’s capacity to absorb vitamins and minerals from the bread as well as improves the body’s ability to digest it.  3)  The flavor!  It’s richer and more complex.  4)  I love the firm, hard texture of sourdough crusts juxtaposed against that soft, chewy interior.

NOTE:  To enjoy the full benefits all four of the points mentioned above, give the dough a long and slow rise, preferably at least 24 hours in the fridge before taking it out to continue rising at room temp.

If you’re fortunate enough to have a friend with a sourdough starter, ask them if they’ll share.  If not it’s easy to make yourself, it will just mean some waiting time.  Do an online search for how to make sourdough starter and you’ll find a ton of resources.

pouring sourdough into measuring cup

Lately this has been the most requested bread in our home.  Specifically, our kids have been clamoring for more and more ever since they had their first slice of it slathered with European butter.  They also LOVE grilled Swiss cheese sandwiches with this bread (and so do we!).  Plain or embellished, we’re confident you’re going to love it, too!

Why Use Sourdough Starter and Commercial Yeast Together?

For this bread we’re using both sourdough starter and some commercial yeast together for a couple of reasons.  Yeast produces carbon dioxide which creates extra volume in the finished bread, and adding some yeast also results in a more tender, lighter crumb.

Can You Freeze Rosemary Sourdough Bread?

Yes!  This bread freezes well and in a freezer bag will keep for up to a month.  My favorite way to freeze it is to pre-slice it and place cutout parchment sheets between the slices and then I can simply pull out however many slices I want and let them thaw at room temperature.

rosemary sourdough bread recipe homemade rustic artisan crusty

Rosemary Sourdough Bread Recipe

Let’s get started!

Note: we’re using both sourdough starter and some commercial yeast together for a couple of reasons.  Yeast produces carbon dioxide which creates extra volume in the finished bread, and adding some yeast also results in a more tender, lighter crumb.

Place all of the ingredients in a stand mixer and knead on the “2” bread setting for 6-8 minutes until a smooth dough forms.  (Alternatively knead by hand for about double the length of time.)

combining ingredients in stand mixer

Form the dough into a ball, lightly spray the bowl with oil, return the dough to the bowl and cover loosely with plastic wrap.  Set in a warm place and let it rise for about 90 minutes or until doubled in size.

Punch the dough down with your fist.  Form the dough into a round and place it in a 10″ banneton (recommended) or comparable loaf pan. Let the dough rise again for about one hour until nearly doubled in size.  In the meantime, preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

If using a banneton, invert the bread onto a baking stone or sheet.

Spray the dough with water and use a long serrated knife to cut two 1/2 inch diagonal slashes into the dough (not shown in picture).  Sprinkle with some extra rosemary and some coarse salt like fleur de sel.

Bake the bread for 25 to 30 minutes, until it’s a dark golden brown.  NOTE:  You can also place the bread on a baking stone that’s been preheated.  The baking stone absorbs the oven’s heat and transfers it to the bread for an evenly crispy crust.

Transfer the finished bread to a wire rack and let it cool.

Best enjoyed while still warm.  Also excellent toasted or made into grilled cheese sandwiches.

rosemary sourdough bread recipe homemade rustic artisan crusty

Enjoy!

rosemary sourdough bread recipe homemade rustic artisan crusty

For more homemade bread recipes be sure to try our:

Originally published on The Daring Gourmet September 19, 2018

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