Aptly meaning "dew of the sea," rosemary has grown wild in the soil around the Mediterranean for over 2,500 years (Ortiz 46). This herb is a member of the mint family and was often used medicinally to reduce the effects of illnesses associated with memory loss and the digestive and nervous systems (Hess 208, 424; Herbst 393). Of course, rosemary also flavored a variety of savory dishes, such as roasted meats or sausage, as well as sweet preparations. In her cookbook, Martha Washington called for rosemary in a custard recipe, "To Make French Curds," and rosemary flowers in those entitled "To Make Conserue [sic] of Rosemary Flowers," "To Candy Rosemary Flowers," and "Spirits of Rosemary Flowers" (Hess 152-153, 277,281, 424-425).

Fresh or dried rosemary adds a fragrant aroma and delicately herbaceous flavor to this light-textured bread.

Makes one 12-inch-Iong loaf.

  1. 1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
  2. 2 cups warm water (110° to 115°F)
  3. 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  4. 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary, or 1 teaspoon dried
  5. 1 teaspoon salt
  6. 5 cups bread flour
  • In a large mixing bowl, dissolve the yeast in the warm water. Let stand about 10 minutes, until foamy.
  • Stir in the oil, rosemary, and salt. Mix in the bread flour, 1 cup at a time, to make a soft dough.
  • Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Knead for 6 to 8 minutes, until smooth and elastic, adding only enough flour to prevent sticking.
  • Transfer the dough to a large bowl coated with vegetable oil, and turn the dough to coat all surfaces. Cover with a slightly damp towel. Let rise in a warm place, free from drafts, for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until doubled in size.
  • Punch down the dough. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes.
  • Lightly grease a 15 x 10 x I-inch baking pan with butter. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  • Roll the dough into a 12 x 8-inch rectangle. Starting at a long side, tightly roll up the dough, jelly-roll style. Pinch the seam to seal. Taper the ends. Place the 12-inch loaf, smooth side up, on the prepared baking pan. Cover, and let rise for 30 to 45 minutes, until almost doubled in size.
  • Bake the loaf for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden and the bread sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.
  • Remove the bread from the baking pan, and cool on a wire rack for 45 minutes before serving.

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