Monday, September 19, 2011

How to impress even a Russian boyfriend

When searching for a recipe for "rosemary garlic blue cheese bread," I mostly found a method for making a sort of herbed blue cheese butter spread that could be applied to already purchased or baked bread then placed under a broiler for a short period. Needless to say, this is not quite what I was hoping for.

I eventually found this recipe, and based my own loosely around it.

1 1/4 cups warm water
tablespoon honey
1 cup flour
1 packet yeast

3 tablespoons olive oil
3 sprigs rosemary
4 cloves of garlic, quartered

2+ cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
however much blue cheese you want

roughly 1 teaspoon each of finely chopped garlic and rosemary

I started by preparing the yeast sponge (not pictured), which consists of mixing the yeast, warm water, honey, and flour together in a bowl, then letting it sit for 20-30 minutes. While waiting for that, I added the olive oil to a pan with the whole rosemary sprigs and quartered garlic cloves. Keep the heat on low, when the oil has been sizzling for about 5 minutes remove from the heat. The garlic should have either not turned color at all, or just barely.

there it goes...

Discard the rosemary and finely chop the garlic.

Add the garlic, about half of the scented oil, and the salt to the yeast sponge and mix. Then start adding the flour. If you have experience making bread, you'll know that it's impossible to be very exact in terms of measurements. I add flour until I can knead without the dough sticking to everything. Once I was able to knead the bread, I chopped up my blue cheese (I suggest no less than 250 grams to start) and kneaded it into the dough. Once I felt it was more or less distributed (and the dough'd had enough) I rolled it into a ball, coated it with some (not all) of the remaining scented oil, and let it rise for about an hour. I always throw things in the oven to rise, either on the lowest possible heat setting (no more than 100 degrees fahrenheit) or off entirely (for the draft-free environment).

just before the first rise...

... and after

The dough should roughly double in size. Punch it down then shape into a bread pan. I coated both the loaf and the pan with the remaining scented olive oil. Sprinkle the chopped (raw) garlic and rosemary on the top. Let the dough rise again for about 30 minutes before putting into the preheated oven. I baked it at 375 fahrenheit for about an hour.

The finished product was very tasty and had a convincing bread consistency, although I will absolutely use way more blue cheese next time (I think I used about 100 grams in this loaf, and it was nowhere near enough).



  1. That looks amazing Rhea! Katie has been promising some freshly-baked Russian bread all summer. Still haven't witnessed it. Take care.

  2. Haha just direct her to my blog for inspiration/instruction... :)

  3. hey! I take offense to the two of you discussing my lazy non-Russian bread baking habits! I guess now that we FINALLY tracked down rye flour, I have no more excuses. Did you know that it was basically impossible to find in grocery stores here, Rhea? It was so weird!
    P.S. Your bread looks delicious! Was the Russian boyfriend suitably impressed? ;)

  4. hahaha rye flour is hard to find even in russia, which is confounding. and yes, he was totally impressed! very exciting :)