Rosemary Scented Baguette

  Rosemary Baguette

I just bought herbs to plant in my garden. Unlike my girlfriend Anne Phyfe who lives in Seattle and has a hedge of rosemary in her yard, all year round, I have to replant mine every spring and hope for enough to get me through the season. After I planted the rosemary my hands were perfumed with that fresh herbaceous scent. I was moved to cut off some of the new delicate stems and bake it into the baguette that was rising on the counter. The result was a crust that had the light smell and taste of rosemary.

Start by sprinkling the surface with flour so it won’t stick to your hands. Take a peach sized piece of dough from your bucket (Master dough with or without herbs (page 25-31), European Peasant dough (page 46), really anything but the enriched doughs will work).

Pan D’epi

Pull up the amount you want and cut with a pair of kitchen scissors or a serrated knife.

Pan D’epi

Pan D’epi

Sprinkle with more flour so the cut edges won’t be too sticky,

Pan D’epi

quickly form into a loose ball. This should take about 30 seconds.

Pan D’epi

To get a really nice shaped baguette we start by gently stretching the dough slightly into an oval.

Pan D’epi

Next you want to fold the dough in thirds, like a letter. Bring in one side and gently press it into the center.

Pan D’epi

Bring up the other side and pinch the seem closed. This will help you to get a tapered end on your baguette.

Pan D’epi

Stretch the dough very gently into a log. You don’t want to compress the air out of the dough. If it resists your pulling on it then let it rest for just a moment to relax the glutens.

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Continue to work the dough until you have a nice thin baguette. It is okay if you let the dough rest a few minutes and then come back to it to give it a gently stretch. No need to fight the dough.

Pan D’epi

Once your dough is the length and thickness you want, this will depend on the size of the ball of dough you started with and how thick you want your bread. Mine are about 15″. Lay the baguette on the edge of your cutting board, or whatever surface you intend to use to get the bread in the oven. Doing the following steps on a piece of parchment will reduce the chances of the dough sticking as you put it in the oven.

Pan D’epi

Once the dough has risen for 20-60 minutes then brush the surface of the dough with either water or a cornstarch wash (page 51). Slash the dough on a slight diagonal starting at one end of the dough.

rosemary bread

Depending on the size of the loaf you will make two or three slashes.

rosemary bread

Add sprigs of very fresh rosemary to the slashes and bake as recommended in our book, on a baking stone, or try the newfangled perforated baguette pans. The rosemary holds up well to the intense oven temperatures. Other, more delicate herbs would just burn and not be as attractive.

rosemary bread

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47 thoughts on “Rosemary Scented Baguette

  1. It is great to see how thin you got the bageuette and it is beautiful with the rosemary. Where do you live that rosemary isn’t an perennial? That is just so sad.

  2. We live in Minnesota, the place to be for many things, but unfortunately, not growing Mediterranean plants like rosemary. Katerina, was I just on your blog today or yesterday, with the beautiful fougasse? Jeff

  3. Hi Zoe- I just receved yours and Jeff’s book for my birthday and I can’t wait to get started with it. I have made your master recipe before with great results so now I am happy to have the whole shabang!

  4. I live in upstate NY and grow my rosemary in a big pot that I bring indoors each winter. Works great and we have fresh rosemary year-round. The baguette looks delicious!

  5. Hi Amy!

    I have to admit that I tried this one year and I ended up with a lovely pot of dried rosemary. You must inspire me to try again!

    Thanks, Zoë

  6. Hi Zoe -

    I’m in NE South Dakota, and have finally figured out how to keep my rosemary going all year long. EVERY TIME I bring it into the house, I end up with the same lovely pot of dried rosemary. But I now have 3 pots of it that spend their winter in the garage. It is heated to about 50-55 degrees and they sit in a south window. I’ve thought of my unheated basement as an alternative – again I’d go south window. That’s what works for me. Just made Rosemary potatoes for supper and will make some rosemary baguettes over the weekend. Can’t wait!!

    Some time ago, I asked you a question about the baguettes I watched the guy at Paneras shaping (and I can’t find it on the website for anything) so will ask again. He pulled the loaves out of what I assume is a proofing cupboard and then gave them a good stretch – grabbed the loaf around the middle and pulled along the loaf to stretch it out about another 20-25%. Then sprayed it with what I thought was oil but after reading the tutorial above on baguettes, I now believe it was probably water. So, please will you remind me what the purpose to the stretch was and do you think it was oil or water? Somewhere in the process he scored them as well but now I don’t remember if it was before or after the stretch.

    Thanks so much for sharing all your expertise! Ann

    PS – What’s the timetable on the next book? Please tell us more, tell us more!! Just another book junkie! :)

  7. Hi Ann,

    What a great idea. My garage is not heated but part of my basement has a south facing window and stays about that cool. I’ll try my rosemary down there this winter.

    The baguette was most likely srayed with water and not oil. The oil will cause the crust to be soft, not crisp.

    He probably waited to stretch the baguette until the end because he was waiting for the glutens to relax. Especially with a traditional recipe you have to work the dough a lot to form a baguette. As you do so it is activating the gluten which makes it very difficult to stretch out to the length you want. By waiting the glutens relax and you can easily stretch the dough.

    Hope that clears things up?

    Our next book is going to be on Whole Grains and Healthy Breads in Five Minutes a Day. We can’t wait, but it will be another year until it is on the shelves!

    Thanks, Zoë

  8. Rosemary is one of the few things I’m currently growing successfully (I have an anything-but-green thumb). The bread looks wonderful with the rosemary on top!

  9. Good Morning –

    I baked 4 baguettes yesterday in 2 different “batches” since my stone won’t handle more than 2 at a time.

    I’ve been using an old brownie pan for the hot water – about half the size of a 9 x 13″ Pan. As there was still water in it after baking the 1st batch, I am wondering if I should be using a bigger pan? I question if I am getting enough steam.

    Now I don’t actually measure out the cup of water each time, I use a coffee cup & just guesstimate. The water isn’t boiling but just under boiling – it comes from an Instant Hot Pt of Use Waterheater.

    These questions sound awfully anal to me but I want friends & family to worship me for my bread baking skills! ;) As if they don’t already worship me…. HAH!

    Thanks much – Ann

  10. Hi Ann,

    It sounds like you can use slightly less water. Only the first 10 minutes of baking needs the steam. It is used to soften the crust so that it will expand and also become glossy. After 10 minutes the steam isn’t all that effective.

    As long as some of the steam is being trapped in the oven for that amount of time you should have a crust worthy of worship!

    Thanks, Zoë

  11. I’ve made about 40 or more loafs of bread from your book so I’m still experimenting but I’ve never had any turn out bad. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for making bread baking so simple yet so delicious. I’m now the official bread baker on my street.

  12. Thank you! What a wonderful idea! My rosemary is just itty bitty yet, as I started it from seed this year, so I may have to go to the store and buy a few sprigs!

    OMG, another book??? Awesome! I can’t wait either!!

  13. Another way to keep rosemary alive all winter: Use a tomato cage over the rosemary and wrap bubble wrap around it. Use duct tape to make a hinge for a piece of bubble wrap to cover the top. I made duct tape ties to close it. Works great for rosemary and thyme as well, and you can pick herbs in the snow!

  14. Oh Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!!! I purchased your book about 3 weeks ago and I am sure that I have baked at least 40 loaves of bread for myself, husband and son. It is so beautiful and delicious and easy that I have also given away about 4 loaves “just because” AND because I love to show off!!! It is so delicious and so easy.!! My husband said he has not had any other bread this good (and that it is actually better!!) since he left Norway in 1964!!!! It doesn’t get any easier or more rewarding at all!! I can’t wait to try all the recipes AND await your new book. I am so grateful….After a really rough winter here in Minnesota, and a dark and dreary spring I have sunshine everyday in my kitchen !!Thank you!! Cathy

  15. Cathy: Your wecome! It really has been a long winter in MN, I hope that baking bread warmed things up for you a bit. Your posting warmed my heart, so sweet of you. Jeff

  16. Saw you on WGN Chicago last week and couldn’t wait to try the bread. Great, I’ll be getting the book! Wanted to chime in on the rosemary. I live in No. Ill, zone 4 and keep my rosemary in a pot in the house in winter. The real issue with it is that it must never be allowed to dry out. Needs a good draining soil, use some sand in the potting mix. It needs to drain well but never dry out “a dry rosemary is a dead rosemary” a gardening friend told me. Hope this helps.

  17. Ruth: I’m so glad that WGN segment is reaching a lot of people; turns out it’s a SuperStation seen all over the country.

    OK, my wife and I are going to make one more attempt at rosemary this coming “W”-word (don’t say it). Or maybe we’ll move to Italy. Jeff

  18. A long overdue thanks to Zoe for recommending the baguette pan. The one I have is perforated all over it with a finish that looks a bit Bakers Secret-ish. Not terribly expensive but it works BEAUTIFULLY!!

    For another family gathering, I baked 2 loaves in the perf’d baguette pan and 2 on the stone using parchment paper rather than cornmeal. I actually prefer the results of the ones baked in the pan. The additional bene is that it is so simple to just slide than pan in the oven.

    Drumroll please – my older brother now truly worships the quicksand I walk on for my breadbaking skills!! Muchas gracias, d’ya know how hard it is to get the Big Brother to worship the Dork Little Sister?!? :) :) :)

  19. Ann: I’m not surprised that you prefer the perforated pan to the parchment. Parchment is a bit of a compromise, because most commercially-available brands are silicon coated and therefore act as a slight vapor barrier. That keeps moisture from getting through to the stone— hence, a soft crust. Those perforated pans actually let air circulate and seem to work as well as the naked stone. So more power to them (and you!).

    If you want to use parchment, and still get a great crust, you need to peel off the paper about 3/4′s through the baking and place the loaf on a naked oven shelf. That works quite well, but it adds a minor step.

    I’m the eldest in my family, but my wife (baby of the family) shares your pain. She was once sent down the stairs in a laundry basket. Etc.

    Jeff

  20. Dear Zoe,

    In May 2008, you wrote:

    “Our next book is going to be on Whole Grains and Healthy Breads in Five Minutes a Day. We can’t wait, but it will be another year until it is on the shelves!”

    I have two questions for you. Will you have anything on sprouted grain breads and do you have better sense as to when the book might actually come out? Thanks…

  21. Hi Theresa: Assuming that we meet our manuscript deadline (1/2/09), the book should be released by Christmas of 2009. Zoe and I are very motivated to make that happen, so that should be the date.

    We’ve kicked around the possibilities with sprouted grains and for the moment we don’t have a clear plan, because we’re not sure whether people can buy that as a product, or you have to sprout your own. Can you advise? Nothing’s etched in stone (yet) for the new book. Jeff

  22. Hi – this looks so good I just put your book on my Kindle. I spend 30 minutes searching for an artisan/baguette rosemary recipe and I think this is just what I want. I will keep you posted on how it turns out. p.s. Here in AZ the trick is not letting things get too hot! It will be >100 today – October 14th! Sheesh!

  23. Thank you for this post. I just made my first baguettes the other day for homemade beef dip sandwiches and they didn’t look too good because they were still too sticky when I formed them and pulled against my hands. They puffed up nicely in the oven and tasted great, but I knew there had to be a way to get some nice looking loaves.

    I also used the French bread pans and loved them. The actual baguette pans seemed to small for making sandwiches off of, but I think I’ll try some tapenade dough on the smaller pans.

    My husband is such a fan of your breads that he wants to serve the beef dip for his family when they come over this Friday, so I’ll be knocking out 8 baguettes and one loaf of za’atar flatbread. (Plus I’m making 3 loaves of the za’atar flatbread for BBQ at my parents’ house this weekend.) Good thing your technique is so quick and easy!

  24. When using a baguette pan, do you preheat it in the oven or do the shaped baguettes rest in the pan, and then you put the whole thing in? Also, do you use the pan in conjunction with a stone?

    • Hi Chris,

      Just realized you were already on the post I recommended you check out! ;) Yes, you can use the stone, but you don’t have to with a baguette pan.

      Thanks, Zoë

  25. Having gone through the agony of trying to keep Rosemary alive through the winter I’ve learned that keeping it in a heated house is not a good idea – it gets powdery mildew. I found it best to keep it on a non-heated enclosed porch or basement – but make sure you remember to water it!

  26. Hello, Jeff and Zoe,
    I’ve got a baguette perforated pan and I am making baguettes from the basic dough using bleached flour. I follow all your instructions. They come out with wonderful crust and shape, but the crumb is exactly like that of bread. I realise that if I am using the same dough, it will be the same result only in a different shape! What can I do to get a more airy, baguette-like crumb?

    • Hi Christie,

      Let the dough rise longer before baking and see if that helps. Are you doing the letter fold with the dough when shaping, as we did in this post?

      Thanks, Zoë

      • Longer rise doesn’t help. I’ve not trued letter fold, I thought that was to get a better shape only.

      • Hi Chrsitie,

        The letterfold can also effect the interior crumb. How long are you letting the shaped loaf rise before baking? Are you using a stone or just the baguette pan?

        Thanks, Zoë

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