The Itch to Do Something

Out of nowhere, I get this itch in my fingers and toes to do things.  Once on a whim I went camping with a friend in January.  It was somewhat warm during the day but incredibly cold at dark.  I shivered the entire night.

Another time I picked up and drove to Chicago on New Year's Eve.  I danced until after midnight, then walked with no jacket and high heels around Wrigleyville spreading some New Year's cheer with my girlfriends until well after 4:00 am.  It was my second best New Year's Eve (my best was my engagement to Tim).

In our first apartment, I decided Tim and I should do some painting.  We picked out the colors and spent an entire day putting coat after coat on the plaster wall.  I even have the before and after of that room.



I think the color made an impact.  We loved that little apartment--listening to vinyl, playing dominoes, and it's also where Tim proposed to me--right in front of that window on New Year's Eve.

We learned to cook together in that apartment, too.  I give a lot of credit to Tim, who had a little more experience in the kitchen than me.  He can whip up a mean Tuesday night stir fry.  I did my part by perfecting the art of meatloaf.  I heard on The Splendid Table radio program that you should make meatloaf the way you'd make a meat ball with lots of fresh herbs.  So that's what I do, and my meatloaf is fantastic. 

While we lived at that apartment, Tim took a job as the morning baker at a local store so that he could finish up his degree in the evening.  He would toss his work clothes in the laundry basket and when I did laundry I would smell the flour and freshly baked bread on his shirt.

He usually does the bread baking at our house but this weekend I got that itch where I needed to bake.  I browsed our cookbooks and some of the magazine clippings I have in a file, but nothing was standing out to me.  I was in search of the perfect bread to make a fancy grilled cheese ala Courtney at Epi-ventures.  Remembering that I had such success with a basic pie dough from Williams-Sonoma when I made my Tomato and Roasted Eggplant Pie, I decided to check out their website for a recipe.

I found a recipe for Rosemary-Olive bread that was closest to what I was looking for, but there were a few problems.  The first is Tim doesn't really love olives, so I decided to make some roasted garlic cloves to put in the bread instead.  The other is that I don't have a stoneware baker.  That was going to be trickier to substitute.

I was shocked at how huge the dough was after it rose twice.  I had originally planned on putting it in a loaf pan to make it easier for slicing, but it was never going to fit.  I made a quick decision.  The original stoneware baker that the recipe called for was covered, so I needed a big, oven-safe pot with a lid that I could bake the bread in.  I pulled out my dutch oven, greased it, and decided to take a leap of faith.

This risk definitely paid off--the bread was beyond my expectations.  It was light and fluffy with great rosemary flavor. The roasted garlic cloves were like bursts of garlic flavor in a bite but didn't overwhelm the bread.

Our fancy grilled cheese sandwiches with Ludlow cheese from Blue Jacket Diary were creamy and crispy, just like a grilled cheese should be.  We had slices of the bread along side grilled chicken and summer squash the next night with just a little butter on them and it was still great.

It took a lot of steps to make the bread, but if you want to have a huge loaf of bread for a dinner party or for sandwiches, I'd recommend this.  It would save you a step if you purchased pre-roasted garlic, but where's the adventure in that?

Rosemary & Roasted Garlic Bread
recipe adapted from Williams-Sonoma

Ingredients for the Roasted Garlic
recipe from Bon Appétit, October 2006 via Epicurious

20 large garlic cloves, unpeeled
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp water
pinch each salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Toss all ingredients together in a small oven proof pan.  Cover pan tightly with foil.  To use for adding to the bread, bake garlic until tender but not mushy, about 40 minutes.  If you are going to use for mashing with potatoes or as a spread, bake for 50 minutes until soft.  When finished, remove foil and set aside to cool before peeling.  For purposes of adding to bread dough, allow to cool completely on a paper towel.

Ingredients for the Bread
2 1/2 tbsp active dry yeast (or 1 package)
1/2 tsp sugar
2 cups warm water (110 degrees F)
5 cups bread flour, plus more for dusting
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
2 1/2 tsp salt
15-20 roasted garlic cloves

Sprinkle yeast and sugar into the warm water.  Allow to stand until mixture is bubbly, about 5 minutes.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, add both of the flours, rosemary, salt, and yeast mixture.  Fitted with the dough hook, knead the dough on medium until the dough is soft and smooth, about 10 minutes.  Turn dough out on to a lightly floured surface and shape into a ball.  Return the dough to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap or a clean towel, and let rise in a warm, dry place, like on top of a warm oven, until doubled--about 1 hour.  Punch down and then let rise again until doubled, about 45 minutes. 

On a lightly floured surface, press the dough flat.  Press the pieces of roasted garlic into the dough so that they are evenly spaced throughout.  Then stretch the sides of the dough down and under to form a tight, round shape.  Pinch the seam under the dough flat.  Place the loaf in a greased and floured 5 quart dutch oven (or stoneware baker).  Cover with lid and let rise for 30-40 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Using a serrated knife, but an X in the top of the dough.  Cover and bake until the loaf is golden brown on top and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom, about 1 hour.

Makes 1 loaf.


  1. Culinary Smackdown results up (finally!). Thanks so much for your entry, Jen, and above all, for your patience! Hope you'll join us again.


  2. Hello! I am so sorry I never responded to your comments..I somehow stopped getting emails when people left comments and was just perusing old posts and found yours!
    That is a good thought on folding in the sour cream to the whip though--I will try that next time I make it! Otherwise, leaving it in the refrigerator longer does make it better!
    And, I have no idea what Euchre is, but I hope they liked the salsa! I practically drink that stuff:)
    This bread on your post looks absolutely amazing. I got a panini press for my birthday and might have to make some to use on that!

  3. oh, and I just read your "about section" and laughed out loud--I am a "home economics" (now FACS) teacher and my husband and I are both coaches!!

  4. Thanks for the comment! The bread sounds great; always tastes so much better made from scratch!


  5. Cara, perhaps you and your husband will have a fantastic daughter like me ;)

  6. Culinary Smackdown results up (finally!). Thanks so much for your entry, Jen, and above all, for your patience! Hope you'll join us again. Thanks for sharing the useful information


Thanks for sharing your thoughts!