Paul Prudhomme, the chef, restauranteur, and spice king from Louisiana passed away last month in New Orleans. This week he was joined in the afterlife by another famous New Orleanian; Allen Toussaint, who was an inspiring songwriter, producer, performer, and ambassador of New Orleans music. There must be a party going on, with some of the best food and music imaginable, on the other side.
Although Paul Prudhomme was best known for putting blackened fish on the culinary map, I came across this rosemary bread recipe of his, and knew that I just had to make it. He described it as “one of the most beautiful breads you’ll ever see, and it is as great to eat as it is to look at.” I agree! It smells wonderful as it bakes, and best of all, Julia (my stand mixer) did all the work. With the dough hook on the mixer, you do not have to knead the dough!
Paul Prudhomme’s Rosemary Bread
2 cups chicken (or vegetable) stock
1 pkg active dry yeast
2 large eggs
1 tsp salt
2 tsp rosemary leaves
1 tsp savory (see note)
3/4 tsp ground turmeric
3 1/4 – 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
Vegetable oil spray
2 tbsp melted unsalted butter
Simmer stock over medium heat until it is reduced to 1 cup. Let cool to 110 degrees, then stir in the yeast and sugar. Let sit 5 to 10 minutes to make sure yeast is active. Whisk the eggs in a bowl until they are frothy, then whisk in the salt.
Combine the stock/yeast mixture and eggs in the bowl of electric mixer equipped with a dough hook. Stir briefly to combine, then add the rosemary, savory, and turmeric. With the mixer set on slow, gradually add 3 1/4 cups flour. Increase the speed to medium and process for 10 minutes. The dough should cling to the dough hook and be fairly elastic. If the dough is soft and sticky, add remaining 1/4 cup flour. Reduce speed of mixer to medium slow, and continue to process for another 5 minutes, or until the dough becomes very smooth and elastic, and clings to the dough hook.
Flour your hands well, gather dough into a ball. Place the dough in a heavy mixing bowl that has been sprayed with vegetable oil. Very lightly spray the top of the dough, then put in a warm, draft free place. You can use the top of the stove with the oven set at 300 degrees. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and let the dough rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Spray a 5 X 8 inch loaf pan lightly and evenly with vegetable oil spray. Form dough into a loaf shape and place into pan.
Bake dough in preheated oven at 325 degrees until the top is browned and the loaf sounds hollow when lightly struck, about 40 minutes. Remove bread from pan and brush with the melted butter. Cool on wire rack to room temperature before slicing. Makes 1 loaf.
Note: Savory is an herb used in cooking. There are two types; summer savory and winter savory. It has has a strong peppery taste. It has been used for centuries in “love potions,” and is thought to be an aphrodisiac. If you do not have savory on hand in your pantry, you can substitute with a little thyme and sage, or some bouquet garni or fines herbes, both of which contain savory.