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A Savory Bread to Make at Home

<i> Shaw is free-lance writer in Los Angeles. </i>

Few aromas are as appetizing as fresh rosemary, homemade bread being among those few. Consequently, the scent given off as this loaf bakes affords an olfactory delight heralding a chewy, savory bread that also makes sensational croutons.

ROSEMARY BREAD WITH SUN-DRIED TOMATOES

1 package dry yeast

1 cup warm water

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2 cups unbleached flour

3 tablespoons malt powder

1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour

1/2 cup high-gluten flour

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1 tablespoon salt

1 large sprig rosemary

1/4 cup sundried tomatoes, minced

Cornmeal

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In large mixing bowl or food processor bowl, combine yeast, warm water, 1 cup unbleached flour and malt powder. Let sit until bubbly, about 5 minutes.

Mix together whole-wheat pastry flour, gluten flour and salt. Beat into yeast mixture. Strip leaves off rosemary sprig and mince. Sprinkle rosemary and sundried tomatoes over dough. Add remaining unbleached flour, 1/4 cup at time, until dough can be handled.

Turn dough out onto floured board and knead until rosemary and tomatoes are well distributed and dough is smooth and soft. Roll into ball. Place in clean mixing bowl, cover with towel, and let rise in warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.

Punch dough down, turn out onto board and knead again to eliminate air bubbles, about 5 minutes. Return to bowl and let rise again, about 50 minutes.

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Punch dough down and pat into round loaf about 1 1/2 inches thick. Place on cornmeal-lined baking sheet. Score top of loaf with paring knife.

Bake at 375 degrees until evenly browned and bread gives off hollow sound when tapped on bottom, about 50 minutes. Let cool at least 15 minutes before serving. Makes 1 loaf.

Note: To make croutons, cut cooled bread into 1/2-inch cubes and toast at 350 degrees about 7 minutes. Both malt powder and gluten flour are available at gourmet and health food shops.


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