Breads

Rustic Rosemary,Garlic and Sage Bread

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When I first moved to New York City in 2004, I had six housemates. One, of whom was an English girl from London.  We both were aspiring dancers but that was about the only thing we had in common.  We were not only housemates but also roommates and our difference were quite noticeable within the first 24 hours, sleeping only beds away from each other.  Our love for each other and our difference grew quickly and deeply.  When I first left New York and her I felt like a piece of me was missing.  Our friendship helped shape and inspire much of who I am today.  We promised to always stay in touch and sadly I have not done so well in the last few years but prior to that we were great email pals and both visited each other in our hometowns.  London was not a bad place to visit a dear friend.  It was so wonderful I had to visit her twice! We spent a weekend in the country, visiting some of her family who lived in a traditional English home in the some of the most beautiful country I have ever seen. Rolling hills and perfect kelley green.  It was even better than I had imagined.  I drank my first Pims and had an authentic Pub experience that Hannah had so eagerly wanted to share with me for years.  I also had a taste of a life that I have dreamed of ever since.  We stayed with her family, who’s mum had the most gorgeous old stove I had ever seen. She had chickens AND made her bread from scratch.  Now, before this weekend, I would have never considered myself domestic.  I had been won over to wanderlust and settling on land, raising chickens and baking bread was the furthest thing from my reality.   Something about watching this beautiful woman taking bread out of her beautiful oven, made me want to be her.   In that moment, I promised myself that if I ever had a family, I would only bake fresh bread for them.  Still to this day, every time I bake a loaf of bread, which is often, I smile at that memory.  Something about this mundane task is complete perfection.  Using my hands and creating something to be enjoyed is what I have come to live for.  I have done many a great thing in my twenty-six years of life, but marrying my husband, having our little lady and baking them bread, trumps it all.  I don’t think Hannah ever learned that I bake bread because of that weekend in the English countryside together.

Here is to Hannah and here is one of my favorite rustic bread recipes, jazzed up a bit.   There’s an unique warmth to it, that makes it a perfect bread for a cold winter day.

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2 ½ cups whole wheat flour

2 ½ cups white flour

6 cloves of garlic minced

4 tsp sea salt

¼ cup fresh rosemary chopped

1/8 cup fresh sage chopped

2 cups warm water

2 ¼ tsp active dry yeast dissolved in warm water

¼ cup olive oil

Warm water on stove to about 110 degrees. Dissolve yeast into water and whisk in olive oil.  Mix liquid into flour, salt, garlic and herbs. Mix until combined and knead on lightly floured surface for about 5 minutes. Place in lightly oiled bowl and let rise until doubled. This takes anywhere from 2-4 hours.  Give yourself plenty of time because the longer you let it rise the better.  Once dough has doubled in size, preheat your oven to 500′. Knead  dough on a floured surface for 5 minutes and form into desire shape. Cover and let rest for 20 minutes. Sprinkle dough with flour and using a sharp knife cut desired design into bread.  Place in Dutch oven, with lid in oven for 35-40 minutes.  Let cool completely before cutting.  And watch out for hungry babes eager to get the first bite:)