2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for brushing
½ ounce fresh yeast or 2 teaspoons dried yeast or 1½ teaspoons active dry yeast
1 cup lukewarm milk
1 teaspoon superfine sugar
3½ cups strong white bread or all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
2 teaspoons salt
2 sprigs rosemary, coarsely chopped
coarse sea salt
Brush a large baking sheet with oil or line with parchment paper. If using fresh yeast, put it into a bowl with the warm milk and mash well with a fork to make a smooth paste. If using dried yeast, dissolve the sugar in the warm milk in a bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the surface, and let stand for 10–15 minutes, until frothy. Stir well to make a smooth paste. (If using active dry yeast, add to the flour in the bowl.)
Sift together the flour and salt into a bowl. Stir in your chosen yeast and add the sugar (if not using dried yeast), rosemary, and oil. Add the warm milk if using active dry yeast. Mix well, turn out onto a lightly floured counter, and knead for 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic.
Roll out to a 9-inch round and carefully place on the prepared baking sheet. Using your fingertip, make 10 dimples in the surface of the dough and insert 2–3 grains of coarse salt in each. Brush with the oil and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400¡f. Bake the loaf for 30 minutes, until deep golden brown.
Remove from the oven, transfer to a wire rack to cool slightly, and serve warm.
35 min, plus 1 hour rising
Vegetables from an Italian Garden