This crusty Italian rosemary bread tastes like the rustic loaves from Macaroni Grill.  Use this amazing homemade bread for sandwiches, or just dip into olive oil for a simple comfort food snack.  This recipe is sure to be a huge hit with your family!

Prep Time: 55 minutes
loaf of rosemary bread with slices and a dish of olive oil
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Macaroni Grill Rosemary Bread Recipe

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Our family has enjoyed eating Macaroni Grill rosemary bread for many years.  It definitely was our favorite thing to eat at that restaurant!  Since the Macaroni Grill near our family has closed, I thought I’d make a copycat recipe so you and I can enjoy this rosemary bread anytime we want.

dipping a chunk of rosemary bread into olive oil

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What is Macaroni Grill?

Macaroni Grill is a casual Italian restaurant that’s popular in the United States.  It was founded in 1988 and runs locations in 24 US states.  Part of what makes this restaurant so popular is their amazing rosemary bread.  It’s served as a free appetizer when you order an entree.

Some people are so dedicated to this bread that they are willing to buy loaves for $1 apiece to take home.  One lady online said that she always takes home three loaves so she can make a special sandwich with the bread!  Fortunately, you don’t have to go to Macaroni Grill to enjoy this delicious rosemary bread; just follow the recipe below, and you’ll get two small yummy loaves to enjoy with family and friends!

loaf of rosemary bread sliced in half

How do I get a thin, crispy crust on my rosemary bread?

I was asking myself this same question as I was researching this rosemary bread recipe for this blog post.  I wanted this recipe to taste as similar as possible to the Macaroni Grill bread, which our family has loved for many years, so it had to have a thin, crispy crust.  Follow my tips below for getting a thin, crispy crust on your rosemary bread.

  • Sift the bread flour.  Sifting sounds a bit strange for a bread recipe, but it really does make a difference.  Sifting makes the flour smoother and more aerated.
  • Knead until the gluten is well-developed.  This is one of the most important steps to getting a good crust.  You should be able to stretch a lump of dough so thin that you can read through it.  Small air bubbles in the skin of the dough is another indication that the dough is well kneaded.
  • Bake the bread with a pan of water in the oven.  Steam prolongs the life of the yeast, encouraging a higher rise on the bread.  The extra humidity in the oven produces the crunchy crust we all love.
  • Let the loaves cool uncovered on a wire rack.  This ensures proper air circulation around the bread, keeping the crust nice and crispy.

Is rosemary bread healthy?

In moderation, rosemary bread is healthy.  It contains healthy fats from the olive oil, and a good bit of protein and fiber to give you energy and keep you full.  One quarter of a loaf (about 78g of bread) is 325 calories.  Scroll down to the bottom of the recipe card below to see the full nutrition facts.

closeup of crackly crust on loaf of rosemary bread

What to Serve with Rosemary Bread

  • Olive oil dipping sauce.  This is by far my favorite way to eat this bread!  Just dip your piece into extra virgin olive oil mixed with freshly cracked black pepper.
  • An antipasto board.  An array of Italian meats and cheeses would perfectly accompany this bread.  Try proscuitto and provolone with some pepperoncinis.
  • Pasta salad or olive salad.  All the great zesty flavors of Italian pasta salad or olive salad would taste amazing with some fresh rosemary bread on the side.
  • Salted butter.  It might be plain jane, but butter always makes everything better!
  • A bowl of hot soup.  Zuppa toscana, pasta e fagioli, sausage and gnocchi, or minestrone would all be good choices.  These are soups on our blog; just search for the recipe in the search bar.

How do you store rosemary bread?

  • Seal the bread in a zip-top bag and store at room temperature.  Do not refrigerate, as this will make the bread go stale quickly.
  • If you’re not eating all of the bread within 24 hours, it’s best to freeze it.

slices of rosemary bread on a cutting board with a dish of oil

How to Freeze Rosemary Bread

  • Seal the bread in a zip-top freezer bag.
  • Press extra air out of the bag.
  • Freeze for up to 1 month.
  • Defrost at room temperature or in the microwave.

How do you reheat Macaroni Grill bread?

  • Wrap the loaf in aluminum foil.
  • Bake at 375 F for 10-15 minutes, or until warm.
  • Serve immediately with a dish of extra virgin olive oil and cracked black pepper.

person holding a slice of rosemary bread

How to Make Macaroni Grill Rosemary Bread

Gather the ingredients for the bread: bread flour, salt, yeast, sugar, olive oil, dried rosemary, and water.

ingredients for rosemary bread

Sift the bread flour once before you begin.  This step helps the bread develop a thin, crisp crust when it bakes.

sifting bread flour into a stainless steel bowl

Pour the flour into a mixing bowl and add the salt and yeast on opposite sides of the bowl.  Stir each one into the flour, making sure that the salt doesn’t touch the yeast directly, or it will kill the yeast.

flour, salt, and yeast in a mixing bowl

Add the sugar, dried rosemary, olive oil, and half of the water.  Begin mixing with your hand or the paddle attachment of a mixer to form a dough.

adding sugar, oil, rosemary, and water to flour mixture

Gradually add more water as needed until a somewhat sticky dough has formed and all the flour is picked up from the bowl.

rosemary bread dough in a mixing bowl with mixer paddle

Kneading is up next, and it’s one of the most important parts of this recipe.  Be sure to knead until the dough is no longer sticking to your hands.  You should be able to stretch a lump of dough so thin that you can read through it.

stretching a piece of bread dough over a box

Another indication of a well-kneaded bread is seeing air bubbles in the skin of the dough.  Look closely in the center of the dough below, and you can see a large air bubble.  This is air incorporated during the kneading process, and is not from the yeast’s fermentation.

ball of rosemary bread dough on a cutting board

Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover with a warm damp towel, and let the dough rise at room temperature until at least doubled in size.  This will take about 1 hour.

Once the dough has doubled, smack its top to deflate it with the back of your hand, then fold the dough over on itself 4 times.  Re-cover and let it rise for another 30 minutes.

bowl of risen rosemary bread dough

Divide the risen dough into two pieces, then shape each one into a tight ball.  Place on a cookie sheet and cover with a dry clean tea towel.  Let the loaves prove until they spring back slowly to the touch, about 40 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 450 F and put a baking stone and heavy metal dish in the oven to preheat.

two loaves of rosemary bread before rising

Just before baking the bread, you can slash the top if you want.  Use a bread baker’s lame or a sharp serrated knife to do this.

two risen loaves of rosemary bread on a cookie sheet

Lower oven temperature to 400 F just before putting the bread in the oven.  Bake for 20 minutes, then remove the steam pan and place the loaves on the hot stone.  Turn the temperature to 425 F and bake for another 20 minutes.  The loaves should be well browned and have an internal temperature of at least 190 F.

As soon as you remove the bread from the oven, brush with olive oil and sprinkle with coarse sea salt and dried rosemary.  The crust should crack, making for an interesting finish.  Let the bread cool for 1 hour before serving to allow it to finish cooking.

two loaves of rosemary bread with rosemary, salt, and a dish of oil

Pro Tips for Making Macaroni Grill Rosemary Bread

  • Always use bread flour for making bread.  Bread flour has a higher protein content than bread flour, making a loaf that’s more chewy and rises higher.
  • Be careful to add the right amount of water.  Too little water, and the bread will be dense, tough, and dry; too much water, the bread will be super sticky and will spread as it rises.
  • Knead, knead, knead.  I cannot stress this enough!  Kneading is one of the most important steps in bread making, so don’t cut it short.  Follow my tips in the recipe card below to see if your dough is sufficiently kneaded.
  • Shape the loaves in a tight ball.  A taut shape makes the loaf rise upwards instead of spreading out as it proves.
  • Put a pan of water in the oven while the loaves bake.  A steamy baking environment allows the bread to rise higher and develop a lovely crunchy crust.
  • Use a thermometer to check if the bread is cooked.  It’s very difficult to tell otherwise.  This rosemary bread should have a minimum internal temperature of 190 F.

Our Go-To Kitchen Tools for Rosemary Bread

Fill your house with the amazing aroma of freshly baked bread.

loaf and slices of olive bread on a cutting board a loaf of pane bianco on a wire cooling rack with greenery loaf of bread on a wire rack with a jar of pesto

  • Rustic Greek Olive Bread: enjoy this soft white bread speckled with salty kalamata olives.
  • Pane Bianco: this quaint Italian bread is stuffed with red peppers, cheese, and herbs.
  • Pesto Babka: it’s easy to make this beautifully swirled loaf filled with zesty basil pesto.

The pleasure of a 5-star review for this rosemary bread would be greatly appreciated.

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loaf of rosemary bread with slices and a dish of olive oil

Macaroni Grill Rosemary Bread Recipe


  • Author: Emma
  • Prep Time: 55 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours 45 minutes
  • Yield: 2 loaves 1x

Description

This crusty Italian rosemary bread tastes like the rustic loaves from Macaroni Grill.  Use this amazing homemade bread for sandwiches, or just dip into olive oil for a simple comfort food snack.  This recipe is sure to be a huge hit with your family!


Scale

Ingredients

For the Bread Dough

  • 4 1/4 cups bread flour (500g)
  • 3 teaspoons fast-action yeast (10g)
  • 2 teaspoons salt (10g)
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar (12g)
  • 8 teaspoons dried rosemary, crushed (11g)
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil (75 ml)
  • 1 1/3 to 1 1/2 cups water (325350 ml)

For the Decoration

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt

Instructions

Making the Bread Dough (45 min + 1 1/2 hrs proving)

  1. Pour the flour into a large mixing bowl and add the salt and yeast on opposite sides of the bowl.  Stir each one in with your finger.
  2. Dump in the sugar, dried rosemary, olive oil, and half of the water.  Begin mixing the ingredients together with your hand to form a dough.  Gradually add more water you mix until a somewhat sticky dough has formed and all the flour has been picked up from the bottom of the bowl.  You may not need all of the water.
  3. Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead for 20-30 minutes, adding more flour as needed.  This is a longer kneading time than most breads, but is a crucial step.  If you’re getting tired, dump the dough in a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook and knead on speed 3.  Don’t use a mixer for the whole time, however, or it may overheat.
  4. The dough is done kneading when it meets the following criteria.  The dough no longer leaves sticky residue on the work surface or your hands and is tacky to the touch.  It should be gloriously smooth and stretchy.  When shaped into a taut ball, there should be a couple of air bubbles right under the skin.  Most importantly, you should be able to stretch a lump of dough so thin that you can read through it.  This means that the gluten is properly developed.
  5. Shape the dough into a ball, place in an oiled bowl, and cover with a clean, hot, damp tea towel.  Leave at room temperature until at least doubled in size, about 1 hour.
  6. Lightly smack the top of the proved dough with the back of your hand; it should slowly deflate.  Fold the dough over on itself four times, then cover with the same damp towel and let it rise for another 30 minutes.

Shaping the Loaves (10 min + 40 min proving)

  1. Flip the risen dough onto a clean work surface.  Do not punch down the dough; we want to keep the air inside of it.  Divide the dough into two equal pieces. using a bench scraper.
  2. Lightly press down each piece into a rough circle.  Fold the edges of the circle into the center to start forming a ball, then pinch the ends together.  Flip the loaf over, cup your hands around it, and use your thumbs to pull the dough even tighter.  Squeeze together any flaps of dough under the loaf.  Repeat with the other piece of dough.
  3. Place the two loaves on an ungreased 11×17-inch cookie sheet and cover with a dry tea towel.  Let the loaves prove at room temperature.  The loaves are ready to bake when the dough slowly springs back when prodded with a fingertip, about 40 minutes.
  4. About 10 minutes before the loaves are done proving, place a large rectangular baking stone on the middle shelf of the oven.  Put a heavy metal pan on the bottom shelf, and measure out 1 1/2 cups of tap water.  Preheat the oven to 450 F.

Baking the Loaves (40 min + 1 hr cooling)

  1. Uncover the loaves.  If desired, slash the top with a bread baker’s lame or a very sharp serrated knife.
  2. Place the cookie sheet on top of the preheated stone.  Quickly pour the 1 1/2 cups of water into the preheated metal dish and immediately shut the oven door.
  3. Lower the oven temperature to 400 F and bake for 20 minutes.  Then, remove the pan of steamy water and place the loaves directly on the baking stone.
  4. Raise the temperature to 425 F and bake for another 20 minutes.  The bread should be well browned and should have a minimum internal temperature of 190 F.
  5. As soon as the loaves are removed from the oven, brush the top and sides with extra virgin olive oil.  Sprinkle with coarse sea salt and dried rosemary.
  6. Let the loaves cool on a wire rack for 1 hour before serving.  Slice or tear the bread and dip in extra virgin olive oil mixed with freshly ground black pepper.

Notes

  • The pleasure of a 5-star review of this Macaroni Grill rosemary bread would be greatly appreciated.
  • 👩🏻‍🍳 Want to see our latest recipes?  Subscribe to our email newsletter to get our latest recipes, fun food facts, food puns, and behind the scenes news about our blog.
  • Category: Bread
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: rustic rosemary bread, macaroni grill bread

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2 thoughts on “Macaroni Grill Rosemary Bread Recipe

  1. I always enjoyed eating Macaroni Grill’s amazing bread, so I was naturally sad when the nearest location closed. Now, I get to eat this bread again! As far as I can remember, this recipe tastes the same as the restaurant bread.😊😍

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