Rosemary & Sea Salt Bread

As seen on The Café Sucre Farina

4 c. bread flour
2 t. kosher salt
1 t. active dry yeast
1 T. (or perhaps more) fresh, finely chopped rosemary
2 c. room temperature tap water
1 T. melted butter, for topping
1 t. flaky sea salt (I used Fleur de Sel), for topping
2 t. finely chopped fresh rosemary, for topping

In a medium-large bowl, whisk together flour, salt, yeast, and rosemary. Make a well in the center and add the water. Mix with a study rubber spatula or wooden spoon (I used the latter) until all flour is incorporated. Don’t worry, the dough will be wet and sticky, that’s how it should be.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave to rise at room temperature overnight, or for up to 12 hours.

The following morning (or after 8 to 12 hours), the dough will have risen. It may still look shaggy, and its surface will be covered with bubbles. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper; set aside.

Spread a generous 1/4 cup of bread flour onto a work surface. Dump dough onto the floured surface and turn it several times to coat. Knead for one minute, adding more flour to the work surface as needed

Divide the dough into two or three fairly equal portions, turning each in the flour to coat. Shape each piece into a ball, pulling edges under and pinching together to make a smooth top. Place loaves on prepared pan, smooth side up. Brush each loaf all over with melted butter, and sprinkle generously with rosemary and sea salt.

Preheat the oven to 425° F. Allow bread to rise for about 20 minutes while the oven is preheating. Transfer the pan to the oven, and bake 23 to 28 minutes or until nicely golden. Transfer to a rack to cool completely.

NOTE: If making in advance, remove from oven when pale golden brown (about 3 to 4 minutes less cooking time). Cool completely, then freeze on a baking sheet. Once frozen, transfer each loaf to a large Ziploc bag and store the freezer. To serve, allow bread to thaw, and then heat for 10 minutes at 350° F or until nicely golden brown.

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