Today is my last day teaching yoga at Machi Yoga. My heart is a puddle. This beautiful community welcomed me as a practitioner and later as a teacher when I moved back to my hometown in October 2021. In my past year of moving, these beloved people have welcomed me, first as a practitioner and later as a teacher. And while I’m so very happy to return to my apartment with my husband in the mountainous metropolis of Madrid, the sixth-generation Oregonian in me is heartbroken to leave the small mountain town of Hood River, Oregon, where my heart and soul reside.
I wanted to make something special to thank my yoga community for their presence and practices and for just being wonderful living and breathing humans. The cold weather came on fast this fall, and cold weather means comfort food. I decided on rosemary artisan bread, one of my favorite things to make, eat, and share.
Rosemary and I have been in a love affair for decades, starting with my Quaker peace activist neighbor Peg Morton, who told me how her friends planted a rosemary bush “for remembrance” in front of her house while she served a federal prison sentence for protesting the existence of the School of the Americas in her 70s. A few years later, I started my own rosemary bush from a two-inch plant in my garden which quickly grew into a bush – on a recent visit to Eugene, I checked on it and was happy to see it’s outgrown me in height and wingspan in less than 10 years. My folks have two rosemary bushes growing in pots that flank the front door. So I grabbed a few handfuls, mixed them with flour, yeast, water, and salt, and let them rest and rise.
Rosemary bread. For remembrance. For fuel. For grounding the heart, soul, and senses in space and time. Even if just for a moment. After all, life is just a series of moments, strung together by the breath. Just like yoga.
Making bread can be time-consuming and labor-intensive. Not so with this recipe. Some of you might be raising a skeptical eyebrow at me when I say “easy” and “bread” and I get it because that was my first reaction too. I, too, once side-eyed the claim that “homemade bread” could be “simple,” but now I’m a believer and I’ve made countless loaves of this since. Trust me on this one. Better yet, put your skepticism aside and make some. The worst that can happen is you get fresh bread.
This is a set-it-and-forget-it palette-pleasing showstopper. Making soup? Bringing a dish to share? Doing something nice for someone who’s struggling? Saying “see you later” (again) to your yoga sangha (community)? Treat yourself and your loved ones and make this bread.
Rachel's No-Knead Rosemary Artisan Bread
- 1 Cast iron Dutch oven with lid
- 1 cutting board
- 1 medium mixing bowl
- 1 spatula
- 1 serrated knife
- 1 kitchen towel
- parchment paper (optional)
- 3 cups all-purpose flour (plus a little more for dusting)
- 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
- 2 tsp kosher or sea salt
- 1.5 cups cool water
- 1-2 sprigs rosemary (fresh is best, but dried works too)
- The night before: combine all ingredients into a shaggy mess in a bowl. Cover the bowl with a towel for 8-12 hours or until the dough has risen (you can also mix in the morning and bake in the evening).
- The next morning or later: preheat the oven to 450 F / 232 C and put the Dutch oven with the lid on in the oven. Set a timer for 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes of pre-heating the Dutch oven and letting the doug rest place dothe dough in the center of the Dutch oven and cover with the lid. Bake covered for 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes of baking, remove the lid, and bake uncovered for 5-15 minutes or until golden brown on top and sides.
- Remove the Dutch oven from the oven and remove bread with a spatula and let it cool on the cutting board. Put your ear down next to the loaf and listen: can you hear the loaf crackle as it cools? Let it cool a few minutes then...
- Slice and devour with extra virgin Spanish olive oil, butter, soup, or on its own. You do you.
I shared a loaf after class this morning, which was a huge hit. Of course, I cut up extra for the afternoon workshop, with a dish of olive oil.
What do you do to mark bittersweet moments in your life? Leave a comment and share your wisdom.
Also, if anyone has any gluten-free flour ideas, I’m all ears. I haven’t found a gluten-free flour that does well for replicating the chew, flavor, and texture of artisan bread, but I’d love to know if you have suggestions.
Breathe and believe,