Sometimes it’s hard to figure out exactly what season it is in our great state, but according to the calendar, it’s fall. It’s hard to get into the fall season when the temperature fluctuates 30 degrees sometimes between morning and afternoon, but soon it will be consistent and you’ll be ready to jump into fall’s arms and all the amazing things that go with fall.
I consider fall its own separate holiday instead of just a season. For that reason, I have a compilation of strictly fall foods that I have to put into rotation every year. Some stay the same and some get changed out based on the mood I’m in, but one thing that stays consistent in that rotation is freshly baked bread. Once you bake bread, you know the exact feeling I’m about to convey. There’s this peace, even within chaos, when you stop everything to bake bread.
You have to pay attention when you bake anything, but especially when you bake bread. Ingredients need to be measured out properly, directions need to be followed in order, you need to keep up with rising times and then actually bake it.
There’s a lot of care put into bread baking because you have to take care of the dough and hope your care yields a great result. I love that about bread because when I need to practice something in my everyday life, I sometimes practice it in food first. If I’m lacking patience, I make croissants. If I’m bored, I scour the map for a fun place and learn about their food and recipes. If I’m living outside my head too much and need to retract, I bake bread. It’s a thinking food for me, so that’s why I appreciate its existence.
If bread baking’s life lessons weren’t enough, there’s always the bread itself. Just having fresh bread out of the oven and around the house is drool-inducing, especially when you’ve just made an incredible pot of stew or soup. It’s satisfying in process as well as taste, and the amount of people it makes happy just solidifies the decision that you must bake bread this fall.
One of my favorites is the basic boule (aka round loaf) but I like having a basic recipe to which I can add additional flavors. One of my favorite versions is the garlic rosemary boule. It’s not only perfect with a hearty soup or stew, it’s also the perfect accompaniment to a lighter Italian meal while the seasons are still dancing together. Hope you find the time and mental release to give this bread a try.
Garlic Rosemary Boule
- 1 1/2 tsp. active dry yeast
- 1 cup warm water
- 2 tsp. sugar
- 2 tsp. salt
- 3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 2 1/2 cups flour (bread or all-purpose)
- 3 tbsp. fresh rosemary
- 1/2 tsp. freshly cracked black pepper
- 2 tsp. dried oregano
- 2 heads of roasted garlic, set aside
- olive oil or butter for brushing on top before serving
- kosher or sea salt to sprinkle on top
In a large mixing bowl, sprinkle yeast into the warm water, then mix in the sugar and the salt and let it sit for 10-15 minutes until it starts to form small bubbles and foams. Add in the olive oil and flour at this point. Use your dough hook attachment to knead for approximately 10-12 minutes. Add in the herbs, roasted garlic and seasonings and continue to knead for another 5-6 minutes.
When the dough comes together and is just only slightly sticky, place the dough ball in a well-oiled bowl and tightly cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Place the bowl in a warm area to rise until the dough doubles, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours depending on the temperature of the room your bowl is in.
After dough doubles, punch it down and shape it into a round loaf. At this point you can use a sharp razor or knife to etch designs on the top. I chose just two lines, but you can make it your own. After this step, place the dough ball on a greased baking sheet. Cover the dough with a large bowl so that the dough is completely covered, but that there is room for the dough to rise again, approximately another 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
After the second rising, preheat oven to 375 degrees, brush the top with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and rosemary. Bake for 25-35 minutes, depending on how hot your oven runs. In the middle of baking, take a little water and sprinkle it from your hands or a mister onto the loaf.
After about 30 minutes, increase the temperature to 425 degrees and brown the loaf until golden brown. Remove and top with melted butter.
Serve with olive oil and balsamic vinegar or with good quality butter.
From Z to A with Zara Abbasi
Zara Abbasi is the pastry chef and recipe developer for Zara Made It. Follow her food adventures on Instagram at @zaramadeit.