Yesterday, I decided to create one more loaf of bread before we store all the yeast away and "dust out our corners with a feather" for the week.
My thinking: even if Moses and Miriam didn't have the luxury to bake a fresh loaf, I may as well take advantage of what my ancestors fought for right?
Even though this logic may not be completely sound, is it really too much to ask for to want the crunch of homemade crust before I change over to matzo? The result: whole wheat rosemary lemon bread.
whole-wheat rosemary lemon bread
adapted from The Well Floured Kitchen
5 ⅓ cups of 100% whole-wheat pastry flour (I got mine from Whole Foods)
1 tbsp. of salt
2 tsp. of fresh chopped rosemary (be generous)
zest from 1-2 lemons
2 cups of water
¼ cup warm water
1 packet of active dry yeast (I used Fleishman's)
1 tsp. of sugar
First combine yeast with sugar in a metal mixer bowl (for a stand-up mixer) and then add the ¼ cup of warm water. Let this sit for around 15 minutes, until the yeast is poofy and bubbly. (If any of you are wondering why the sugar it helps activate the yeast)
In another bowl combine flour, salt, rosemary, and zest, and mix until the spices are well distributed. Add the water, mixing loosely with your hands until dough begins to combine. When the water, flour, and spices seem to be about halfway mixed, add the mixture to the activated yeast. Mix carefully with your hands until just combined. After fully combined, put bowl in a mixer with the hook attachment and knead dough on a medium-low setting for 5 minutes.
After kneading, the dough will seem much smoother and just look overall a bit "better." Let the dough sit in a room temp-warmish atmosphere for about an hour, covered (I used a damp kitchen towel). After an hour punch the dough down, and knead very slightly.
Take out a large cast-iron pot, and line it with parchment. Flour your hands, and the parchment and take the dough out of the bowl. Shape the dough into either a circular or oblong loaf. Sprinkle the top with flour. Cover the pot, with a slight crack at the top and let sit for one more hour. Preheat the oven to 400˚ F. (I used convection bake.)
After rising a second hour, the bread is (almost!) ready to bake. Take out a VERY sharp knife and make slices on the top of the loaf, in whatever design you desire. Place the bread in the oven for about 30 minutes, or until the loaf is a golden brown on the outside. If you like a crustier bread (as I do), feel free to drop a teensy bit of water once or twice into the hot oven to create steam.
And now, finally, take a slice and enjoy!