Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Rosemary For Remembrance - Again

Five years ago I baked a lovely rosemary bread, Panmarino, for the July Bread Baking Babes challenge and this month I made it again (photo above), but made only 1/4 of the recipe and shaped it as a baguette. Our challenge this month (with no Kitchen of the Month to choose something new) is to choose one of the July breads from years past and bake it. Since both Sweetie and I are eating less bread these days for our health, a fraction of the recipe seemed like a good idea. As is often the case, my timing was flawed, so we had our first bites at a little after 10 p.m. I decided that I like this bread best with a small amount of olive oil on top of the slice and a few grains of sea salt added.

July is always a month for remembrance for me and Sweetie, and rosemary is the traditional herb for remembrance...at least according to Shakespeare. Tomorrow is the 20th anniversary of our son's fatal accident. In 20 years we have learned how to live without him and how to live with each other and with what the days bring, but a day doesn't go by without our remembering him in some way...no rosemary needed.

Still, with a huge rosemary shrub on the property, it's easy to enjoy recipes using fresh rosemary and this bread is a winner. I used some sourdough starter in addition to the pinch of yeast in the biga. I let it sit longer than the recipe called for (overnight and then some), so I used 40 grams of the flour and the water, mixed together, to add to the biga for an additional hour and then I followed the recipe to make the dough and then the bread. I think that the added time, plus the sourdough starter, gave the finished bread a wonderful depth of flavor.

Use good quality olive oil for the dough and be generous with the fresh rosemary. Your kitchen is going to smell wonderful while this bread bakes!

Be sure to visit the other Babes to see which July bread they've made. If you want to be a Buddy, I guess you send an email to the Babe whose bread you make. If it's mine, send me an email at elle dot lachman at gmail dot com and include a photo of your bread and a short description of your baking experience. You have until the 29th of July and I'll try and send you a Buddy Badge, if there is one.

We have quite a few Babes who are sitting out the bread baking right now, for various reasons. We do have a Kitchen of the Month for next month and I know that the Babes who are baking right now are enthusiastic about it, so join in if you like. You might discover a recipe that becomes a standard for you!

Panmarino (Note: I made 1/4 of this recipe for one loaf)
Makes: 4 Loaves  Original Panmarino created in Ferrara near Venice

Biga (which I made exactly as described):
Bread flour 143 grams/  5 ounces
Water 122 grams/  4 1/4 ounces
Pinch of instant yeast

Final Dough:
Bread flour 884 grams/  1 pound 15 ounces
Water 487 grams/  2 cups
Milk 2 ounces/ 1/4 cup
Biga 265 grams/  9 1/3 ounces
Salt 1/2 ounce/ 2 teaspoons
1 teaspoon instant yeast
Olive oil 88 grams/  3 ounces
Chopped fresh rosemary 9 grams/  1/3 ounce

Preparing the Biga:
Combine the bread flour, water and yeast in a large mixing bowl. Stir with a wooden spoon until well blended.  Scrape down the edge of the bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let it rest at 75 degrees F. for 14 to 16 hours.

Making the Final Dough:
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the water, milk, and biga. Using the dough hook, mix on low speed until blended.

Add the salt and yeast to the bread flour in a bowl and whisk to combine. Add bread flour mixture a cup at a time and mix on low speed until incorporated, then add more. When about half the flour is added, add the olive oil, mix with the dough hook to combine, then continue to add the flour mixture. You may need to add by tablespoonfuls at the end. Mix with dough hook on low for 5 minutes.  Increase the speed to medium and mix for about 7 more minutes, or until the dough is smooth.

Lightly oil a large bowl. Scrape the dough into the bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let the dough ferment for 45 minutes.

Remove the dough to a lightly-floured work surface and knead in the fresh rosemary. Divide the dough into four 450-gram /16-ounce pieces (or divide into three pieces to shape as desired, as I did). Shape the dough pieces into rounds. Cover with plastic wrap and let them bench rest for 15 minutes.

Place two couches on a separate work surface or bread board and dust them with flour.

Uncover the dough and, if necessary, lightly flour the work surface. Gently press on the dough to degas and carefully shape each piece into a tight and neat rounds (or into rolls or loaves, as I did. I also shaped my round loaf in a heavily floured brotform).  Place one loaf on one side of the couche, fold the couche up to make a double layer of cloth to serve as a divider between the loaves, and place a second loaf next to the fold.  Repeat the process with the remaining two loaves and the second couche.  Cover with plastic wrap and proof for 1 hour.

About an hour before you plan to bake the loaves, place a baking stone (or tiles) into the oven along with a steam pan (underneath) or iron skillet (on the top rack) and preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Uncover the dough and score the top of each loaf in a star pattern using a lame or sharp knife. This particular formula doesn't say to do this, but you can sprinkle sea salt into the crevices as the original baker did to make it "sparkle with diamonds."

Carefully transfer the loaves to the preheated baking stone using a peel or the back of a baking sheet. To make the steam, add 1 cup of ice to the iron skillet or steam pan.

Bake for 40 minutes, or until the crust is light brown and crisp and the loaves make a hollow sound when tapped on the bottom.

Remove the loaves from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool.


  1. A bittersweet recipe for you, we will be thinking of you tomorrow. Glad you have that shrub on the property, I keep losing mine to unseasonable winters. Everyone loved this recipe and I loved using my sourdough for it as well, and adding the roasted garlic. It was delicious.

  2. What a neat idea to shape it as a baguette! I bet it tasted great!

  3. Warmed sliced bread, especially rosemary bread, drizzled lightly with olive oil and a few grains of sea salt is wonderful, isn't it?

    What a lovely way to hold your beloved son in your memories by breaking rosemary bread together at the table.

  4. I also have a lovely rosemary shrub - for some reason the rabbits leave it alone. I need to use more. Lovely bread.