Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Rosemary and Cracked Pepper Bread

Rosemary and Cracked Pepper Bread
for Not My Type by Melanie Jacobsen 

Rosemary and Cracked Pepper Bread

I couldn't resist using pepper and spices to go with Pepper Spicer's story in Not My Type by Melanie Jacobson. The subtle blend of rosemary and pepper are perfect in this easy-to-make artisan bread. Pepper's parents named her and her siblings after spices, a twist on their last name. They got it right with Pepper--she's saucy, independent and doesn't quite know her own strength. This bread is great with other add ins; try cheese, lemon, or even dried fruit combinations. 

3 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons chopped, fresh rosemary
1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1 2/3 cups water
cornmeal as needed

Combine the flour, yeast, salt, rosemary, and cracked pepper in a large bowl. Add the water and stir until it is blended.  The dough will be sticky. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it rest at room temperature until bubbles form on top, about 12-18 hours. 

Lightly flour a surface and turn the dough onto the flour. Fold the dough over a few times. Cover with plastic wrap and let is rest for15 minutes. 

Sprinkle a cotton towel with cornmeal. Quickly form the dough into a ball, using only as much flour as needed to keep the dough from sticking. Put the dough on the towel and dust it with more flour or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let the dough rise until it is more than double, about 2 hours. 

Thirty minutes before the dough is ready, put a cast iron pot or dutch oven in the oven and preheat it to 450'.

Carefully take the pot from the oven. Slide your hand under the towel and dough, and turn the dough over into the pot. It's alright if it looks funny. Cover with the lid and back for 30 minutes. Uncover and continue baking until the loaf is browned, about 10 minutes. 

Cool the bread on a wire rack. Makes one 1 1/2 pound loaf. 

*Tip: to make cracked pepper flakes, crush peppercorns with a mortar and pestle, or use the back of a large spoon. 

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