Here’s something wonderful to try today: Rosemary Olive Oil Bread. An easy bread recipe for beginners, it’s lush with the fruity, earthy taste of olive oil, aromatic with rosemary and garlic, and when you pull a loaf freshly from the oven, you’ll feel like you just won the lottery.
A warm loaf of homemade bread is one of the greatest pleasures in life.
From the smell, to the way the soft interior steams, to the way butter melts right into the surface, the utter satisfaction of enjoying something so primally simple but so profoundly satisfying is a moment of paradise.
Best of all is the bread you bake yourself. It’s shockingly easy to do!
I’ve been baking this particular rosemary olive oil bread recipe since my 20s.
It was my first time buying yeast, and I was positive I was going to end up with a hockey puck.
To my delight, what emerged from the oven wasn’t a piece of rubber, but a lovely round of the most fragrant bread that took me back to my earliest memory of bread greatness: the bottomless rosemary focaccia at Macaroni Grill.
Since then, I’ve eaten and baked a much wider bread variety but, as one of the first breads I learned how to bake (along with Whole Wheat Pizza Crust and No Knead Focaccia), this olive oil bread recipe will forever hold a special place in my heart.
5 Star Review
“Erin, this recipe is incredible. The bread was super easy and delicious, but you didn’t tell me how AMAZING my apartment would smell! So. Good.”— Jenn —
How to Make Rosemary Olive Oil Bread
If you are new to bread baking, this recipe is the perfect place to start.
It’s incredibly forgiving and the steps are straightforward.
If you are a bread baking pro, you’ll love this bread too.
It comes together while you are working on other things, and the mix of Italian spices will delight and seduce you.
- Whole Wheat Flour + All-Purpose Flour. I use 50% whole wheat flour for the extra nutritional benefits, like more fiber. It adds a nice earthiness that fits right in with the rosemary.
- Yeast. DO NOT be intimidated by yeast! It’s another ingredient just like anything else. You’ve got this.
- To ensure your yeast activates properly, make sure your yeast isn’t expired and use an instant read thermometer to check the water temperature before mixing it with the yeast.
- Your yeast packet will have a temperature range (usually around 110 to 120 degrees F). Stay within that range, and you will be good to go.
- Olive Oil. Adding olive oil to bread gives it a lightly fruity, earthy taste. You can use a light olive oil if you’d like its flavor mild or a more robust, peppery olive oil for a more pronounced flavor.
In addition to including olive oil in the bread for taste and texture, you can brush olive oil on top of bread to help the crust brown and for additional flavor.
- Fresh Rosemary + Italian Herbs. To give the olive oil bread serious Italian flair. They make it scrumptious enough to enjoy on its own, or paired with your favorite savory recipes.
- Honey. For a subtle touch of sweetness that pairs well with the whole wheat flour and olive oil. Sugar also gives the yeast food to munch on right away, which helps it activate.
- Salt. Adding salt is CRITICAL for bread to have any flavor; without it, it will taste like little more than flour. This recipe uses kosher salt to flavor the dough, then a finishing sprinkle of flaky sea salt to make it pop.
- Vital Wheat Gluten. This is an optional ingredient that helps breads baked with whole grain flours (and other heavy ingredients like nuts and seeds) rise higher and be more tender. You can certainly still bake this rosemary olive oil bread without it; the texture will just be a bit more dense.
- Proof the yeast.
- Stir together the dry ingredients.
- Mix the dough together, then knead by hand or with a stand mixer.
- Put the dough into a lightly oiled bowl.
- Let rise until it doubles.
- Shape the dough first by gently stretching and folding the opposite edges toward and over each other to create a “square”.
- Flip the dough over, and tuck the corners under to create a ball.
- Let rise again until nearly doubled. Preheat the oven with a pizza stone or Dutch oven inside of it.
- If using a Dutch oven, trim the parchment paper to create a “sling”.
- Score an “X” in the top of the dough.
- Use the parchment paper to lift the dough onto the preheated vessel.
- Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, brushing with more olive oil and sprinkling with rosemary and salt midway through. Let cool and ENJOY!
- You can bake rosemary olive oil bread in a Dutch oven or, if you have one, on top of a pizza stone.
- For an artisan rosemary olive oil bread with a crisper crust, be sure to preheat your baking vessel, then place the unbaked loaf onto it hot.
Ways to Serve Rosemary Olive Oil Bread
- Soup. Dunk a big slice of any of these healthy soup recipes. Italian Crockpot Tortellini Soup, Instant Pot Tomato Soup, and Crockpot Potato Soup are all especially tasty with it.
- Ricotta. Toast a slice, then spread it with ricotta and top with a pinch of flaky salt for an Italian-inspired breakfast. Add a slice of prosciutto and/or an egg and you have a seriously tasty meal.
- Salad. A slice of homemade bread makes any of these salad recipes feel complete. Try it with Italian Chopped Salad, Antipasto Salad, or Broccoli Cauliflower Salad.
- More Olive Oil! See below for a rosemary olive oil bread dip recipe. I love snack on it while I’m cooking dinner.
Rosemary Olive Oil Bread Dip
For a taste of your favorite Italian restaurant, drizzle a good quality olive oil onto a plate. Top with flaky salt, a pinch of Italian seasoning, and a (if you’d like some heat) a baby pinch of red pepper flakes. Dunk your olive oil bread liberally and enjoy life!
- To Store. Nothing beats fresh bread the day it is baked, but you can store leftover homemade bread at room temperature, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap or in a ziptop bag, 4 days.
- To Reheat. Place slices in the toaster, or rewarm in a 300 degree-F oven for 5 to 10 minutes.
Olive oil bread keeps beautifully in the freezer. Tightly wrap in plastic and store it in a freezer-safe container or gallon-size plastic bag for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
- Glass Mixing Bowls. Stackable, durable, and dishwasher safe!
- Magnetic Measuring Spoons. Magnetic feature makes them easy to organize in your drawers.
I hope you feel empowered to make this rosemary olive oil bread a reality in your own home.
Once you see how simple (and how DELISH!!) homemade bread is to bake, the store bought stuff may never do it for you again!
Rosemary Olive Oil Bread
- 3/4 cup warm water (100-110 F – I recommend taking the temp if you can!)
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 packet active dry yeast 1 1/4 ounces or 2 1/4 teaspoons
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil divided
- 1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour plus extra for kneading
- 1 tablespoon vital wheat gluten* optional, see notes
- 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary divided
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Flaky sea salt such as maldon or fleur de sel
- In a large bowl (or if you will be using a stand mixer, the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook), combine the warm water, honey, and yeast. Let sit 10 minutes to proof. The yeast should look foamy (if it doesn't, the yeast is dead or the water was too hot or too cold; your bread won't rise, so you will need to start over).
- Stir in 3 tablespoons of the olive oil.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, and vital wheat gluten (if using). Stir in 1 tablespoon of the rosemary, salt, garlic, oregano, basil, and pepper.
- Add the dry ingredients to the bowl with yeast and stir by hand (or mix with the hook), until the dough forms a ball. If the dough seems dry, sprinkle water over the top 1 tablespoon at a time, until it holds together in a rough ball.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead the dough for 10 minutes by hand (or mix with the dough hook for 8 minutes on medium low), until the dough is smooth and elastic. The dough should be tacky and moist but should not be overtly sticky and cling to your hands. If it is too sticky, add additional all-purpose flour 1 tablespoon at a time, being sure to knead (or mix) it in completely before adding more.
- Lightly coat a clean bowl with nonstick spray or olive oil. Place the dough in the bowl, cover, and let rise in a warm, draft-free place until nearly doubled in size, about 1 to 2 hours. (An unheated oven is a great place for this—just don’t forget about the dough and preheat your oven by mistake! Not that I’ve done this…). If your kitchen is extra cool (or your dough is being stubborn), you may need to let it rise for longer. Don't rush the process.
- Once the dough has nearly doubled, lightly flour a sheet of parchment paper and turn the dough out onto it (you do not need to punch it down).
- Lightly flour your hands. Gently take the top edge of the dough and stretch it away from you. Fold it up and over so that it touches the center. Repeat with the bottom, then the left and right sides so that you create a rough square.
- With a spatula or bench scraper (or gentle fingers) flip the dough over. Cup your hands around the dough and tuck the edges under to form a round ball, starting at the square's "corners." Place seam-side down on the parchment paper.
- Cover with a clean towel, then let rise until nearly doubled in size, about 1 to 2 hours more (again, you may need longer depending upon the temperature of your kitchen).
- When it's nearing time to bake, place a pizza stone (if you have one) or Dutch oven in the oven and preheat the oven (with the stone/Dutch oven in it) to 400 degrees F.
- If you are using a Dutch oven, once the dough has finished its second rise and you are ready to bake, trim two opposite sides of the paper to fashion "handles," then trim around the bread to create a bread sling, which makes it easier to lower in the Dutch oven (see photos).
- With a sharp knife or bread lame, cut an “X” in the top of the loaf that is 1/4-inch deep to allow steam to escape during baking.
- Using the parchment paper, gently lift the dough onto the preheated stone or into the Dutch oven. Bake for 10 minutes, then remove the dough from the oven and brush the remaining 1 tablespoon oil over the top. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 tablespoon rosemary and a big pinch of flaky salt. Return to the oven and bake 10 to 15 minutes more, until the internal temperature reaches 195 degrees on an instant read thermometer. (If not using an instant read thermometer, look for the top to be golden brown and bread to sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.) Keep an eye on the bread towards the end of its baking time. If it starts to look darker than you would like, loosely tent it with foil.
- Transfer the dough to a cooling rack and let cool to (almost) room temperature (if you can stand it), then slice and serve warm.
- Vital wheat gluten can be added to yeast breads that are made with whole-wheat flour to help them rise more effectively. Gluten is responsible for the stretchiness of dough and for the shapes that baked goods hold. Since whole-wheat flour is heavier than its white counterparts the vital gluten gives it an extra boost to create a lighter, fluffier loaf.
- Look for vital wheat gluten in the baking aisle of larger grocery stores or any specialty food store or you can find it online here. You may also omit the vital gluten from the recipe entirely with good results.
- TO STORE. Nothing beats fresh bread the day it is baked, but you can store leftover homemade bread at room temperature, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap or in a ziptop bag, 4 days.
- TO REHEAT. Place slices in the toaster, or rewarm in a 300 degree-F oven for 5 to 10 minutes.
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