The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Sourdough with olive oil and rosemary

CAphyl's picture

Sourdough with olive oil and rosemary

Our friends, Tim and Barb, are visiting us in California from the Midwest, and I asked them what kind of bread they wanted me to make.  Tim asked for sourdough with olive oil and rosemary.  As rosemary is plentiful (and drought-resistant), we have lots of it growing everywhere in our backyard, so this was not a difficult request.

I modified one of my sourdough recipes to make the bread, adding olive oil and rosemary (recipe below).

Ready for the overnight proof.

It popped up overnight.

Scored and ready to go.

The crust turned out well.  You can see the rosemary in there.

The crumb was good, and the texture of the bread was quite moist.

Our friend, Tim, is making his sandwich in the back of this crumb shot.  He loved the bread, so I am a happy baker!  Now, we are off for a spin around the lake.

Sourdough with olive oil and rosemary

Makes: One 2 pound loaf (this loaf was 2 lbs 9 oz).

Method adapted from: Classic Sourdoughs by Ed and Jean Wood.

I used my active starter that was a 70/20/10 mix of AP flour, WW flour and dark rye at 100% hydration.


Final Dough:

  • 230 grams (about 1 cup or 240 ml) active starter, 70/20/10 mix of AP, WW and Rye flours at 100% hydration
  • 300 grams water (Approximately 1 1/2 cups or 360 ml water)
  • 10 grams salt (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 500 grams unbleached all-purpose flour (about 4 cups)
  • 9 grams chopped fresh rosemary
  • 40 grams olive oil (reserve some for kneading)


  1. Mixing the dough. Pour the starter into a mixing bowl. Add the water and mix well.  Add the flour a little bit at a time until it starts to stiffen. Let the mix autolyze for 30 minutes add then fold in the salt. After that, add the rosemary and about 2/3 of the olive oil.
  2. Kneading the dough. Turn the dough out onto an oiled surface, using the reserved olive oil, and knead in the remaining oil if the dough is too sticky. Knead for about 10 minutes until it the dough is smooth and easy to handle.
  3. Bulk fermentation. Lightly coat a glass bowl with olive oil and place the dough ball into the bowl, making sure that the top of the dough ball has a thin coat of oil. Cover and bulk ferment in the refrigerator for 24-48 hours. 
  4. Shaping and final proof. Use a spatula to ease the dough out onto an oiled surface. Allow the dough to rest for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, shape it into a rough ball, cover it with a cloth, and let it rest again for 30 minutes. Now, shape the dough into a boule and place it seam-side up into a banneton coated in brown rice flour. Put in a clean plastic bag and refrigerate overnight (or longer if you want more sour flavor).
  5. Baking the loaf. The next morning, remove the loaf from the refrigerator and let it warm up before baking. You should be the judge of how long you need it to warm up.  My loaf needed to pop up a bit, so I let it warm up for about an hour at room temperature as I preheated the oven. It will overproof if you keep it out at room temperature too long. My experience is that this pops up in the oven quite nicely. As the original recipe calls for 8-12 hours of room temperature proofing, I did notice that this dough did need time to warm up and rise a bit at room temperature before baking. I used my covered baker, so I preheated it with the cover on at 500 degrees (260 degrees C).  When the oven and baker are at temperature, remove the lid and pop the loaf into the bottom tray. Score it in the pattern you desire.  I sprayed a light mist of water on the dough, trying to avoid the hot surface, as I was hoping for a really beautiful crust.  Bake at 500 degrees with the lid on for 30 minutes, and then take the temperature down to 435 degrees and remove the lid for the final browning, which is another 10-15 minutes, depending on the type of crust you like.  We tend to like a bolder crust, so I bake it a bit longer. Watch it closely during this phase. If you do not have a covered baker, you can use a baking stone or tray with parchment paper, but make sure you create steam by using your steaming apparatus or baking tray with boiling water from the start of the bake.  Bake the loaf at about 480 (250 C) degrees for the first 25 minutes and then reduce the temperature to 435 for the next 15-20 minutes, depending on how bold you like the crust.
  6. Cooling and slicing the loaf:  Remove the loaf from the covered baker tray or stone and let cool for at least 20 minutes before slicing.



dabrownman's picture

very tasty indeed.  Sadly my rosemary turned dry as bone about 45 days ago in the summer heat - even totally in the shade. But left alone it dried itself right on the stem and i still use it:-)  Put some sun dried tomato and a clove of garlic in there and you have Lucy's favorite pizza dough:-)  Well done and happy baking .

CAphyl's picture

dabrownman:  That is really too bad.  Glad you were able to dry it out and use it.  I think I will add the sun-dried tomato and garlic and make pizza dough as you suggest because it sounds wonderful.  I love anything with garlic and sun-dried tomatoes.  Lucy has excellent taste!  Best, Phyllis

Kiseger's picture

Love the scoring on this, what a great oven spring as well!  This is a really appealing formula, I've not worked with adding oil yet but this looks like a winner to me.  Just got back to London and you'll not be surprised to hear it's raining.  Am tinkering in the kitchen with a new bread, having missed all my interesting flours after 10 days of T65 in France.....  I've got to try your bread, am going to use some really fragrant peppery olive oil we have and see how it turns out!  Thanks for posting!  Hope all OK with you in CA, saw the quake news and sorry to see so much damage.

CAphyl's picture

Kiseger: It was a really nice loaf, and I will make it again.  I think I will sneak in more rosemary.  Our friend, Tim, loved having it for toast in the morning as well.  Adding the olive oil is tricky, as it gets quite slippery.  You have to add as much olive oil as you are comfortable with.....My husband watched the Liverpool game (they lost badly to Man City), and it was just sheeting down with rain in Manchester.  We have had perfect weather here in CA, but we need the rain so badly. We went on the boat and had to all get in the back to rock the boat out as the lake levels are so far down with the drought that the front end was stuck in low water/mud.  It will be so interesting to be in the UK with so much rain!   I will have to get into my UK mode with boots, brolly and rain jacket. Sounds like you had a great time in France. I am looking forward to reviving my starter in the UK and baking a number of favorites.  I think you will like this recipe, so let me know how it turns out.  Best,  Phyllis

Isand66's picture

Beautiful scoring Phyllis.  Looks like you ended up with a great crust as well.


CAphyl's picture

Everyone really seemed to like it, so I am sure I will make it again.  The crust was very nice, and it made great sandwiches.  It is always fun to try something new.  Thanks for your very kind comments.  Best,  Phyllis

Cmmelende's picture

This is hands down my favorite sourdough recipe. My loaf didn't rise much, but the taste was great!

Do you have tips on how to knead when working with oily doughs? I think my loaf didn't rise  because I didn't knead it correctly.

Thank you!