Inspired by my latest blog post on the different types of Italian bread, I decided to experiment in the kitchen and create my own version of rose bread. Traditionally this is a sweet and fragrant bread with buttercream and dried fruit. I wanted to rebel against the status quo and create a savoury version, with olives and thyme and delicate sea salt crystals imprinted in the crispy crust.
I think the Spring of 2020 is going to be defined as the Spring of baking. Everybody loves to bake and to be fair, I think bread baking is an important skill. While everyone can make easy homemade bread, it gets a little tricky when we start diving into artisanal bread. It's something I love learning about and I'm excited to share more speciality bread recipes as I go along.
What I am trying to also say is that artisanal bread does take a little patience and practice. It took me some good years of bread baking before I figured out how to save my dough if it gets too sticky or what to do if the dough feels too heavy and floury. Basically it is a sweet spot which you will know right away once you experiment more in the kitchen.
There are even books about the science behind making bread. I'm still learning as I go along and truth be told, I love sharing what I'm discovering. And seeing a beautiful loaf of bread coming out of the oven, with that crusty exterior and the fluffy interior is basically pure happiness.
Savoury Rose Bread
As previously mentioned I was inspired by my recent post on Italian bread to recreate the torta della rose but in a savoury format. La torta delle rose is a brioche-like cake that is stuffed with buttercream and sugar. What sets it apart is its gorgeous appearance with the fantastic roses arranged in a circle. That's why we recommend using a round ø24-25 cm baking tray.
It is believed that rose bread originated sometimes in the 1400s when it was invented specifically for the wedding of Isabella d'Este with Francesco Gonzaga Duke of Mantua.
While the original is filled with buttercream, you can also fill it with jam or even do it in a savoury style of bread which is what we attempted here today.
How to make rose bread?
The ingredients and bread/water ratio for rose bread are very similar to that of Italian grissini. That's because I wanted a very crisp exterior with a superb, fluffy interior. A bite into the rose bread should reveal the earthy taste of the black olives combined with the thyme I used fresh thyme from the garden. You can replace thyme with rosemary if you prefer.
In a small bowl add the lukewarm water and mix in the sugar until dissolved. Add the sachet of active dry yeast and let it sit on top of the water for about 10 minutes until slightly frothy.
In a larger bowl, mix in the flour, the salt, the thyme and the olives. Add the olive oil and then add the yeasty water. Using a standing mixer with the dough hook attachment, knead for about 10-15 minutes. The dough should be silky and heavy but slightly sticky.
Transfer your dough to a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a damp kitchen towel. Leave it in a warm place for the dough to rise. It should take around 40 minutes for it to double in size.
Preheat your over at 175 C / 350 F.
Take the risen dough out of the bowl and transfer to a lightly floured surface. Knock out any air from the dough, then measure it and divide it into 7 equal parts.
Take each piece and stretch with your fingers to form long strips of dough, similar to a grissini. Roll the dough into a coil (when risen it will resemble a rose). Try to stick the end under the formed coil so you don't have any loose ends. Repeat with the rest of the dough until you get 7 beautiful roses.
Lightly oil and tap some flour in a round ø 24-25cm baking tray. Try to arrange them in such a way that you have the roses arranged in a circle with one gorgeous rose in the middle.
Very important: make sure you have the roses pretty snug in the tray as you will want them to rise upwards a little so it creates a beautiful elevation. Brush with a little olive oil and sprinkle some sea salt. Let rise for around 30 minutes.
Bake in the centre of the oven for 25 minutes or until golden and crisp on the outside. You know the bread is done when you can hear it sound hollow when you knock on its bottom.
Interested in more bread?
This recipe has been developed entirely by Yuzu Bakes. Any resemblance with other recipes is purely coincidental.