The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Rosemary Olive Oil Bread

Floydm's picture

Rosemary Olive Oil Bread

Daniel T. Dimuzio's new book Bread Baking: An Artisan's Perspective is a textbook on the craft of artisan bread baking.  As such, there is more emphasis on understanding your ingredients and technique rather than on recipes.  That said, the book does contain an appendix of reliable formulas, one of which caught my eye this afternoon. 

As can be seen in the photo, some of my techniques, such as my scoring, still leave a lot to be desired, but this bread was quite simple to make, made the house smell great, and tasted delicious.

Rosemary Olive Oil Bread (makes 2 loaves)

250g bread or AP flour
170g water
5g salt
2g instant yeast

Final Dough
750g bread or AP flour
510g water
40g extra-virgin olive oil
5g rosemary leaves, chopped
15g salt
5g instant yeast
427g pre-ferment

Combine the ingredients to make the preferment the night before baking.  Leave them out at room temperature for roughly an hour and then refrigerate overnight.

The next day, combine the remaining ingredients with the pre-ferment.  Use your preferred mixing and baking technique, which for me was about 8 minutes of mixing in the standmixer followed by a 3 hour bulk fermentation with two folds.  Shape, score, and bake your loaves as appropriate for the shape you choose, which for me was roughly an hour final rise followed by 20 minutes in my steamed oven at 475.

Bread Baking: An Artisan's Perspective is available from Wiley & Sons.

Read a Q & A with Dan DiMuzio here.



pmccool's picture


That looks wonderful!  And I'm pretty sure your scoring issues didn't hurt the flavor any.

A question: since the rosemary is to be chopped, am I right in supposing that you used fresh rosemary, rather than dried?


Floydm's picture

I actually had dried rosemary, so I just crumbled it up.

ivyb's picture

That bread looks AWESOME!  Lucky are the folks who get to eat it...




camima00's picture

Is my preferment suppose to rise at all?  What did I do wrong?  I stirred my dough in a rising bucket, left it out for one hour at room temperature and then placed it in my refrigerator overnight.  This morning it is still the same size as it was last night.  I made the preferment according to the ingredients in your bread and it didn't rise at all.  Please can you reply back as soon as possible, as I am making this bread today for tomorrow's Christmas dinner.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

continue with the instructions.  Mer-rye Christmas!

DrPr's picture

I love this bread and it's always a hit with friends. I've made rosemary olive oil bread using Nancy Silverton's recipe, which is pure sourdough. I'm curious to try this version now!

dghdctr's picture

You know, the rosemary quantity isn't fixed -- you add as little or as much as you want.  I think a little goes a long way. 

If you choose to use dried, I might recommend soaking the dried leaves in just a tiny amount of the water used in the formula.  I think re-hydrating them may make chopping them later easier.

ques2008's picture

great-looking muscles!

bonnibakes's picture

This is my first posting and the Rosemary Olive Oil Bread caught my attention since I'm surrounded by heavenly rosemary bushes. Is there a place on this site where I could convert your weights to oz/lbs? I weigh all my ingredients using a Berkel scale I bought used years ago (made in England). It came without a manual and I don't know if it's capable of measuring anything other than oz/lbs.

Floydm's picture

Paste "750 grams in ounces" (without the quotes) into Google and it'll convert it for you.

sojourner's picture


 As others have said, your bread looks wonderful. Are you using bleached flour? I know this seems to vary from country to country. Here in the UK, none of the flours I use are bleached and, although the white flour looks very white when I open the bag, my loaves always have a very slight latte colouring when cut.



samsara's picture

There is also a program available for free that someone mentioned here that I use from time to time now called "Convert".  I don't know if it works on anything but Windows but it converts just about any kind of measurement you can think of.

This recipe caught my eye too and I'm always looking for ways to use my fresh rosemary (besides huffing it ha ha ha).  I have the pre-ferment in the fridge already.



ashwingrao's picture
blackbird's picture

made a note, will try as soon as I can, and I recall big fresh rosemary bushes so big they had become a hedgerow.  What a treasure.

SylviaH's picture

My daughter's favorite bread is Rosemary.  I just picked up a new rosemary plant yesterday.. Lovely bread,  Thank you for the wonderful post!  


xaipete's picture

Those are some real nice looking loaves, Floyd. I love the smell of fresh rosemary. You ought to get yourself a rosemary bush. It is one of the easiest plants to grow and nearly impossible to kill even if you completely neglect it. It has lovely flowers too and is known to repel mosquitoes. Ours just finished blooming a couple of weeks ago. This is the one herb I always have available in my yard, and it requires zero maintenance.


Floydm's picture

You are right, I should. 

maswindell's picture

How can I convert this recipe using a sourdough starter instead of yeast ?

I'm a total newbie but just trying to gain as much information and recipes as possible.

This site is a wonderful source of baking info.


dghdctr's picture

Actually, maswindel, if your sour starter is a firm one, and made from a good white flour, you can probably substitute one-for-one on total weight of the starter and still have a very good bread.  So, I'd probably take 420 grams of recently refreshed, active sour starter and use that to replace most of the starter Floyd used there (which I call old dough).  Then take the salt that was in Floyd's starter and add it to the final recipe, for a total of 20 g of salt instead of 15 g.

Of course, your sourdough bread will be different than this one in more than one way.  Besides the more acidic flavor, you'll have much slower fermentation, and you'll need at least 3 hours of bulk fermentation (at maybe 75 degrees) before the dough will mature enough to divide and shape.  Proofing will take longer too -- maybe 2 or 3 hours.

If your starter is hydrated at less than 68%, your dough will be firmer than Floyd's, and you can add water as you wish.  If it's wetter, yours may be a bit loose, so I'd add just a smidge more flour to counteract that.  You should actually write down any changes you make and weigh them as you go, so you can reproduce your version whenever you want to.

--Dan DiMuzio

jackie9999's picture

I was just in the garden center today looking at the herbs.  I knew I wanted basil (for pesto) and I saw the rosemary and wondered what I could do with it ....looks like I'm going back to buy it tomorrow..until then dried rosemary will have to suffice ....

Thanks for the lovely recipe..can't wait !

dghdctr's picture

By the way, Floyd's loaf looked great, and there's really no need to change a thing.  Still, in answer to Floyd's concern about cuts opening, I thought I'd post these photos of a round version, together with a scoring method I use with it.





The rosemary/olive oil dough is kind of loose, so it doesn't open with an ear easily in a log or oval shape after you score it.  With the round shape and the scoring pattern illustrated here, it just expands attractively and the "ear" isn't an issue.

caviar's picture

I'm curious about the amount of roemary you use. If you used dried what weight of fresh do you think should be used.

I tried to make it following your recipe but not knowing I used fresh. The herb flavor was very very mild.

 I also had a problem with the color of the loaf. There was almost no browning so I thought that it needed more oven time. The bottom did not givea hollow sound and felt quite soft so I checked the internal temp. from the bottom. i've had the impression that bread should reach at least 205 degrees F. and it never did. The bread ended up with almost no color and a very tough crust.

 Do you have any suggestions. The bread still tasted good. Some people said it tasted like olive oil and some said they thought they could taste rosemary.



dghdctr's picture


The rosemary quantity, as I stated in the thread above, is entirely adjustable.  Rosemary is a powerful herb that can be overwhelming to some folks if used recklessly, and some plants are just more pungent than others.  So go 50% higher, or double the amount -- whatever you like, if that's how you like it.

Without actually seeing what you did every step along the way, it's hard for me to know what went wrong with your browning. You may have fermented the dough too long and used up the sugars available in the loaf before the baking process.  You may have left the loaf in the dry oven too long during loading before you created steam.  If that happens, a dry skin forms on the outside of the loaf before it even starts baking, and that dry skin will not brown properly.

What temperature did you use?  For this bread, I'd have recommended at least 425-450 degrees, depending upon the characteristics of your oven and the size of the loaves.

A soft bottom indicates that the underside of the loaf was exposed to less intense heat than the rest of the loaf.  Did you use a baking stone?  If so, you should pre-heat the stone with the oven for 1 1/2 to 2 hours before baking, or the stone may be cooler than the air in the oven during the bake.  Stones take a long time to get as hot as the air in the oven, and that thermostat which indicates the oven has finished pre-heating is only measuring the air temperature.

Lastly, if a loaf's interior doesn't climb easily in temperature during the bake, it may be too dense.  Denseness can result from underproofing, overproofing, undermixing, overmixing, or just a general lack of yeast activity, possibly due to overfermentation or underfermentation.

If you try the bread again and follow the directions closely (you can lower oven temp to 450 or so), and if you post pictures of the pre-ferment just before mixing the dough, the dough itself right after mixing, the dough at the end of  bulk fermentation, the shaped loaves before proofing, the proofed loaves before baking, and then the loaves after baking, I can look at them and troubleshoot them more meaningfully.

Also -- if your oven hasn't been calibrated recently, you might not be getting the heat that you think you are.  You can get a cheap oven thermometer at WalMart and heat it together with your oven, then check for accuracy.

ehanner's picture

Floyd's loaves are so perfect looking you can almost smell the savory aroma. One trick I learned from contributor Mark Sinclair at the Back Home Bakery in Kalispell MT helps draw the deep aroma of what ever herbs you use.

Mark says to try heating the oil for 20 seconds in a small dish then adding the savory herbs and let it sit overnight, covered. I usually chop the fresh rosemary and thyme first. The oil will take on a wonderful deep aroma that is much more than just stronger. I do this every time at the same time I mix the preferment.


caviar's picture

Many thanks for the thoughtful responses to my most recent problem. I believe I followed Floydm's recipe exactly except that I used fresh rosemary. This included a three hour bulk ferment with the oven set to 475 F for a long time. The dough swas very slack and the folds helped a lot so I was able to shape and put them in a couche(&) by hand. O f course being me I forgot to put parchment or semolina etc. on the peel. I had each loaf on small pieces of parchment so I could pick them up and place them on the peel. When I tried to slide them on to the stone they didn't slide until I gave it a real jerk ( I guess that discribes me). One loaf slid up against the back of the oven and the other flattened way out and I was sure they were goners.

One other thingwas that at the end of the 3 hours the dough had much more than doubled. It was sitting on my ice machine that supplies a little extra heat. I also tried to get some color on the loaves while still in the oven by spreading some b utter on the surface.

I'll try again with correcting what I can and take pictures of the different stages as suggeasted. I'm not much of a photographer and I'll have to figure out how to attach photos. These things don't come easily to an octogenerian.

Thanks again       Herb


dghdctr's picture

Hi again Herb,

I like the idea of putting the loaves on parchment just before sliding them in the oven.   Go ahead and use enough parchment under each loaf that it will cover the bottom completely, allowing for the growth during proofing.  Even with semolina or cornmeal, you can get sticking issues if you don't work with a peel every day and don't know exactly how to snap it upon release.  Also, if the dough seems too wet to you, or its moisture content makes it too much of a pain to handle, just use one or two tablespoons less water next time.

I think your loaves deflated at least a bit (maybe a lot?) when you had trouble loading them.  Don't be too hard on yourself about that.  Home ovens aren't designed for ease of loading, and most kitchens aren't designed for anyone to bend low and work quickly.  When loaves deflate, they often won't re-inflate, and that may have caused the dense crumb and slow temperature change in the loaves.

With regard to dough size or the length of fermentation, go ahead and divide the dough after 2 or 2.5 hours if you think it's ready.  Mix the dough to a temperature of 76-78 degrees, but preferably no higher.  If the dough's temperature is higher than 78 degrees, it will almost certainly be ready before 3 hours.  Even a 2 degree difference changes ideal fermentation times dramatically.  And try to keep it at moderate room temperature -- something like 75 degrees, maybe 77.  A warmer room temperature may speed things up too much.

--Dan DiMuzio


photojess's picture

when you do the preferment, (which I have never done yet), and you say to add the other ingredients the next day, how long are we talking over night, by the time you start back up in the morning?

Is there a specific number of hours it should be in the fridge?


(Dan, I'm loving following the threads you're contributing to, as well as all of the other pros on here.  Continuously learning lots!)


dghdctr's picture

Hi Jess,

Thanks you for your kind words.  I can't relate enough about the nature of all types of pre-ferments in this forum, but I'll try to give you a rough sketch.  For more specifics (and specifics are important), you can go back and re-read some of the threads I've joined in here, or you can get your self a good bread book.  That's not necessarily a plug for mine -- Jeff Hamelman, Peter Reinhart, Dan Leader, and Ciril Hitz have all written recent good works, and I recommend them all.  You'll need to put in some reading time and then put that information to use.

Most pre-ferments aren't designed to stay in the refrigerator, but, for practical purposes, "old dough" (AKA pate fermentee) is refrigerated anywhere from 4 hours right on up to 36 hours.  20-24 hrs is probably the norm.

A natural starter like firm levain or liquid levain is normally kept no warmer than 70 degrees and no cooler than the low 50's.  The Italian natural starter used for Pan d'Oro and Pannetone is sometimes kept at 85 degrees and fed every 4 hours to minimize any acidic flavors.  Still, many home bakers take advantage of the 'fridge (at 40-45 degrees) to keep their starter fermenting slowly and in a controlled fashion.  Most home bakers just aren't going to feed a starter every day, twice or three times a day, and let that feeding schedule run their lives all the time.  As long as a refrigerated natural starter is fed twice a week (read up on how to do this) it will stay viable and fairly predictable, in my opinion.  Just pull it out of the 'fridge at least 2 days before using in a dough, and resume room-temperature feedings until you use it in a dough.

Poolish can be fermented traditionally anywhere from 5 hours right on up to 18 hours, but 18 hrs is pushing it.  You will find people who say they do it for 24 or 36 hours.  Well . . . OK, but I don't recommend it.  It is meant to be fermented at room temperature, and the amount of yeast added is determined by how long you want to ferment it.  You use less as pre-ferment time increases.  Read up on that as well.  Once it domes and then barely starts to crack on top (showing signs of imminent collapse) it should be used.  Some people ferment it a few hours at room temp and then refrigerate it until use.  That will add a bit more acidity, but if you're happy with it, OK.  You just don't want the poolish to collapse before use.

A firm sponge made from commercial yeast is easier to manage than poolish, and it is more forgiving of using it later than planned.  At 70 degrees (low end of room temp), I usually ferment a sponge for 24 hours if possible, using just the tiniest amount of instant yeast -- around 0.05%.

None of these times and temperatures are absolute -- most pro bakers experiment to find what works for them.

--Dan DiMuzio

photojess's picture

Your knowledge and time that you are sharing are much appreciated.  I am still a newbie except for basic breads, and more bread books will be in my future.

One thing about this vast site and in what other's share, is there is so much to read, and while a title might start out with one thing, the discussion may lean towards really good info about something else......I could spend hours on here at a time!


Thanks again. I think this is a recipe I'd like to try soon.

tjkoko's picture

As to my poolish I would never use salt.  I prefer allowing my yeasties to run freely as opposed to hindered by the salt.

dghdctr's picture

That's OK, tjkoko, poolish doesn't generally require salt.  Some bakers (even French artisanal bakers) will use maybe 0.1% or 0.2% salt to get a poolish to ferment more slowly.  There's nothing unnatural or untraditional about it.

Just so I know we're talking about the same thing here -- Floyd's pre-ferment in the formula above is actually just like "old dough", or pate fermentee.  It isn't really a poolish at all.  If you wanted to use a poolish instead of old dough, you could certainly do that, but the ingredient weights in the final dough would be significantly different.

--Dan DiMuzio

samsara's picture

On the basis of the interview, this recipe (which I screwed up pretty good but it still tasted delicious), my desire to actually know how I can make my own recipes and find out what the effect of doing different things does, and Dan's HUGE willingness to interact on here and help people out... I went ahead and finally clicked "Order".  I can't wait for it to come but I have round two of this dough in the fridge waiting to become my favorite bread.  I might have to buy another rosemary plant as my little one is getting hacked back pretty far and is going to have trouble keeping up with my desire to make this bread again and again :-)




SulaBlue's picture

I have this book and I love it!

Admittedly, it's not a book you can really sit up late at night and read, at least not past the first few chapters. I fear the section on baker's math just made my eyes cross when I tried to read it the first time.

I really like the history in the first chapter, esp. mention of bread during wartime, etc. and wish there'd been a bit more of that kind of thing!

dghdctr's picture

Thanks David and Sula for the kind words.  I hope you get enough out of the book that you'll be using it as a frequent reference, despite its sedative side effects.  If I get anymore reports of resulting narcolepsy I'll have to get FDA approval and post a warning label.

Sula's wanting more info about the history of bread making is a comment I've read more than once, so I'll definitely consider expanding that chapter if there's ever a second edition.  Honestly, I was only hoping to provide a little context for baking students to shake them out of their assumption that bread is just a wrapper for their baloney.

In the bibliography of the book, you'll see listed a work by Stephen Laurence Kaplan, entitled Good Bread is Back.  Kaplan is a professor at Cornell University who has made a study of bread baking in France, at least from the Middle Ages on up until recent times.  He wrote a different book that centered upon the era of the French Revolution, but the title I mentioned above deals a lot with the 20th and early 21st century.

I don't always agree with Kaplan's views about present-day bread, as I think some of the qualitative judgements he makes are open to question.  Still, his research on the history of bread baking in France is unparalleled for a book written in English.  If you're a bread geek like me, you might want to check it out.  I've seen it in libraries, and it's not expensive if you'd rather buy it.

--Dan DiMuzio

xaipete's picture


I find your book to be a very thorough explanation of all the phases, science and art behind turning out a loaf of bread. It is an excellent book packed with information. I am working my way through it chapter by chapter. I find that I can't read it too fast because there is just too much information to absorb. It is a great reference book that is giving me practical information that I can use now and other information that I will grow into as my skills improve.


dghdctr's picture

Thanks, Pamela.  Feedback that the publisher has compiled indicates that the faster you read my book, the more intense are the mind-blurring, head- spinning side effects.  You probably shouldn't drive after reading more than a couple of pages.

--Dan DiMuzio

leemid's picture

I love this bread. I am making some right now. But I don't get the durations you say in the recipe.

I followed the recipe exactly and brought it with me to work this morning to keep an eye on it. The drive took about 40 minutes of the bulk fermentation which 'should' last 3 hours with the dough doubling. I folded it and expect to do so again but don't see two foldings, which with sourdough never increases to double in between the fold times, lasting out to 3 hours. I am not familiar with folding after the dough has doubled so this is new territory for me. I am an accomplished baker and know that the length of the bulk fermentation can/will vary markedly from baker to baker, location to location, flour to flour, and I will continue to make this bread however it works for me, but I was wondering if y'all get different timings?

I like to soak the chopped rosemary in the oil before adding to the dough for several hours as mentioned above to increase the flavor, and will eventually try the firm starter substitution for the recipe's preferment. I am using a cheap and not so wonderful olive oil, the economy being what it is and wondered if anyone has done so then switched to a good, fruity, non-bitter, high-quality oil, and is the result dramatically better?


dghdctr's picture

Hi Lee,

The recipe above is a partial excerpt from the formula in my book.  In the book, I specified a goal temperature of 77 degrees F for the dough, and there is a page that walks you through the water temperature calculation that can help you achieve the goal temp.

If the dough is even just 2 or 3 degrees above the goal temperature, that can knock 45-60 minutes off of the anticipated bulk ferment time quite easily.  If that happens, you should probably divide the dough, shape and bake with it as soon as it has matured, if possible.  BTW, the doubling of a dough doesn't necessarily indicate its optimal state for division and shaping.  If you poke a mature, undisturbed dough with your fingertip, the indentation should remain, but the dough should not be ready to collapse.  If it collapses, it was over-mature in all likelihood.

If you find that dough temperature is on the mark but it still matures too quickly, you could use anywhere from 25-50% less yeast in the final dough.

--Dan DiMuzio

FaithHope's picture

Floyd, real quick.  When you say you let it ferment for 3 hours and then did 2 folds, what does that mean?  Did you fold it after the 3 hours and then let it sit again, and then give it another fold, and let it rise one last time?  If so, how much time between each fold?

I'm sorry if that's a dumb question.  I just usually shape my dough after the 3 hours and then let them do their last rise, then bake.  Am I doing it wrong?

I'm going to try this R. Olive Oil after everyone finishes eating what I just made today! :)  Thanks for the pictures!  They look AWESOME!!!

Thanks too Dan for all your imput!  I want to go and get your book too!  I just have Peter R's BBA book and I really love it, but am looking for other great books too!  I love the round loaf pic.'s!!  AMAZING!!



cheesehappens's picture

Thanks for the nice recipe. I embellished it with a heaping tablespoon of finely grated Meyer lemon peel and added a tad more flour to combat some stickiness. My two carefully snipped epis looked just about perfect after an hour's proofing. I followed the whole Peter Reinhart-prescribed steam routine and fully expected nice pointy epis, but instead, the points lost all definition and the leaves looked more like eggs. Tasted great, but looked kinda dumb. The epis were uncrowded on a heavy full-size sheet pan and I weighed all the ingredients. Anybody understand why the leaves turned to eggs? Thanks in advance.

dghdctr's picture

Pictures of the dough or the shaped epis would help to determine what might have gone wrong.  With or without photos, though, we can only guess.

If your dough was a little too wet, it may not hold it's shape very well after being formed into loaves and proofed.  Insufficient surface tension from loose shaping might cause the same thing.  If the loaves are overproofed, then the individual snippets in the epi may spread as you cut them.  And a dough that is too enzyme-active for any reason (too warm, or a pre-ferment that's too active) can also cause the degradation of gluten strength.

For that matter, if the dough wasn't quite mature yet before division and shaping, it won't hold it's shape well either.

You see, the times given for fermentation or proofing are only approximations.  They assume that you've successfully performed all important aspects of gluten development in the mixer bowl as well as during bulk fermentation, and that this has all occurred with the right dough consistency (hydration) and at the right dough temperatures, with a pre-ferment that came out almost perfectly.

Even the ingredient weights are approximations, since no two brands or runs of flour are exactly the same.  Their ability to absorb water will vary.  Only experience -- making the same dough with the same flour over and over again, under the same conditions -- will give you more precise and predictable results.

So try it again -- and again -- until you see things getting better.  Take notes along the way, and ask yourself WHY something didn't go well.  Fix it when you find out.  Read Jeffrey Hamelman's book -- especially the first 60 pages -- and resist the temptation to make all sorts of different recipes from the book in a short time.  Pick a simple dough, and keep doing it until you get it right.  Then move on to something less familiar.  Your learning curve will actually be shorter, your insights more reliable, and your results will get better and better on a regular basis.

Good luck with it.

--Dan DiMuzio

fotomat1's picture

Thrilled that the formula lends itself well to sandwich loaves. Pretty much the same formula as Floyd starts off with which is actually Dan's but adjustment to the bake time. 2 10x5 USA pans...70 minute final rise....spray well before inserting to a 400 degree oven 50-55 minutes. Actually trying to convert a number of my favorites to sandwich loaves as a strange new year resolution. Thanks to Dan for this one and his wonderful book.