Monday, January 20, 2014

Roman Bread

We had a major roll disaster yesterday afternoon. I had prepared the dough and put it in the fridge before we left for church. When we got home, I took the cold rolls out to rise. To speed things up, I placed the cold glass pan full of rolls on my stove top, with the burners on low, or so I thought. A few minutes later, there was an explosion and shattered glass was everywhere. So, so dumb.

We were on a time crunch at that point, and bread was our Sunday dinner assignment, so I turned to one of our favorite (and fastest) recipes, Roman Bread. It is chewy and salty and pairs well with just about anything. It's great for a crowd, too.

Roman Bread

Place the following in your bread maker, according to the order in the manufacturer's instructions:

1 1/2 cups water
4 cups, or 19 oz, bread flour (I use all-purpose)
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon SAF yeast, or 1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon bread machine yeast (SAF yeast is the best and can usually be found at Costco. Or if you are local, I get mine at Shar's in Gilbert.)

Start the dough cycle on your machine. Once it is finished, turn the dough out onto a baking sheet that has been brushed with olive oil. Using oil-coated fingers, press and flatten the dough into a 1-inch thick oval. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature for about 40 minutes.

While it is rising, place a pizza stone on the bottom rack of your oven and preheat the oven to 425 degrees. If you don't have a pizza stone, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Once it has risen, score the top of the dough in a tic-tac-toe pattern with a sharp knife, going no more than 1/2 inch deep. Drizzle with 1/4 cup olive oil and sprinkle with 1 or 2 tablespoons crushed rosemary. It might seem like a lot of rosemary, but just go with it.

Now, the recipe says to bake for 20-25 minutes, but mine is always done by 18, so keep your eye on it. Yesterday, at 14 minutes, I noticed the bottom of my loaf was getting dark, so I took the pan off the pizza stone, and moved it to the center of my oven. I lowered the temperature to 400, too. After two more minutes, I switched my broiler on low, and moved the loaf to the top rack for another minute or so, just until the top was golden brown.

When it comes out of the oven, sprinkle with a generous amount of Kosher salt.

Some notes:

I have a Zojirushi bread maker and I love it. I make all of the bread in our house, so it gets lots of use. Some of my favorite recipes are Irish Potato Brown Bread (good for sandwiches), rolls, and pizza. I've tweaked all of these recipes over time, usually changing the ratio of whole wheat flour to white flour. I'm slowly trying to phase white flour out of our lives (except for the occasional treat).

The Bread Lover's Bread Machine Cookbook is my go-to source for bread recipes. In fact, I just got rid of all of my cookbooks, but this one (and Martha's Baking Handbook) made the cut.


  1. Yum! Looks and sounds delicious. I've pinned this to try later. thanks!

  2. looks delish! going to pin this also! thanks for sharing :)

  3. Don't think I have commented for a few days. My computer was acting up and I had to call in some tech support. Okay now though. Bread sounds delicious and wish my bread machine was not broken. Maybe someday I will get a new one. Have been busy and had my sister's family over Sat for lunch. It was nice to connect with them again. Love you and will try to keep up.

  4. This is always a favorite and there are no leftovers unclaimed.

  5. Anonymous6:47 PM

    Not dumb, we've all done it!

  6. You might do this already, but just in case you don't, i'll share this tip. I make all of the bread in our house too, and when i need to speed up the rising time, i turn my oven on to 200 degrees and then put the bowl of dough or pan of rolls in there, tightly covered with plastic wrap. That part is important because if the dough isn't covered it'll dry out in there. If you don't use a 200 degree oven on a regular basis, it's a good cooking basic to know about. That's the "warm hold" temperature for pretty much any food. So if i'm making dinner and one thing is done before everything else is ready, i just put the finished thing in the oven at 200 and it stays perfectly warm until serving time. Or if i'm making pancakes and i want everyone to be able to eat at the same time, i put a plate in the oven at 200 before i start, then toss each pancake in there as they come out of the pan, so they're all nice and warm when they're all finished. Anyway, for breads/rolls, i put the dough in there, then just take a peek every 5 minutes or so. When it gets a good start on rising, i turn the oven off and crack the door open. . .and then take it out before it's all the way risen so that it doesn't over proof. Sorry to give advice if you already know that trick, but i wanted to share in case you don't. It's a reliable shortcut for someone that makes bread all the time! Oh, and i know this will show the time i'm commenting. . .almost 3 in the morning! I'm not a total weirdo, i'm just having one of those woke-up-because-the-5-year-old-was-coughing-and-got-up-to-get-her-a-drink-of-water-and-now-i-can't-go-back-to-sleep moments. Does that ever happen to you? I hate it when it happens to me, i'll be dragging all day tomorrow. But thanks for giving me something to read in the middle of the night! :)

  7. Oh i meant to say, that bread looks delicious! A lot like focaccia, yum. I'll have to make that one. Anything with rosemary is a favorite in our house!

  8. Anonymous9:44 AM

    Bummer--I did that with a crock pot to warm up gravy once. What a huge mess. Even on low, glass and ceramic cannot take direct heat like that, especially when cold. Bread looks yummy! And my oven has a bread proof setting--but it's only 100 degrees. I think it's not warm enough.


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