Debbi, mentioned rosemary bread the other day and I couldn't get it out of my mind. I decided to try to recreate the rosemary bread at Romano's Macaroni Grill. Lucky for me, many have already tried to do that. I found a recipe here at food.com and tweaked it just a bit. I have made this a few times now and I am happiest with this variation. Dipped in extra virgin olive oil and cracked pepper, this bread is addictive.
This bread is a bit heartier than the bread that Macaroni Grill serves. If you are aiming for a closer copy of the well-known bread, use all AP flour instead of whole wheat. For what it's worth, the 100% whole wheat version that I made was tasty, but the wheat taste overpowered the rosemary much more than I expected. It also created a heavier bread. I was aiming for a lighter bread and using AP flour in combination with the whole wheat accomplished that goal. I love this recipe now and it is frequently requested by friends.
Rosemary Bread with Whole Wheat
1 cup lukewarm water
1 tablespoon yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup whole wheat flour, I used freshly ground hard white wheat
1 1/2 cups AP flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped
2 tablespoons butter, melted
crushed sea salt
extra virgin olive oil and fresh cracked black pepper - for dipping
In a large mixing bowl or the bowl for the kitchenaid mixer, combine the water, yeast and sugar. Let it rest for 5-10 minutes, until it is foamy or bubbly.
Mix in 1 tablespoon of melted butter, 1 teaspoon salt, the flours and 1 tablespoon of chopped rosemary. Knead with the dough hook on the mixer for 5 minutes or by hand for about 10 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic.
Coat a large bowl with olive oil and place the dough in it. Cover with a towel and allow the dough to rise for one hour, or until doubled in size. Punch the dough down and divide in half. Allow it to rise a few more minutes while you thoroughly coat a large baking sheet with olive oil.
Shape the dough into two round loaves and sprinkle the tops of the loaves with remaining chopped rosemary. Press the herbs lightly into the surface of the bread.
Let the loaves rise again, until doubled in size, approximately 45 minutes. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Bake for 15-20 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove from the oven. Using a large spatula, transfer the loaves to a wire cooling rack. Brush with the remaining melted butter and sprinkle with crushed sea salt. The sea salt is a crucial step. You could probably substitute kosher salt, but whatever you do, do not skip the salt on top of the loaves. It imparts a great flavor to the finished bread.
When you are ready to serve the bread, crack some black pepper onto a small plate and drizzle with olive oil. Dip the bread into the oil mixture and enjoy!