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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 anytime we want.
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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 it! Fortunately, you don’t have to go to Macaroni Grill to enjoy it; just follow the recipe below, and you’ll get two small yummy loaves to enjoy with family and friends!
How do I get a thin, crispy crust?
I was asking myself this same question as I was researching this recipe. I wanted this recipe to taste as similar as possible to the Macaroni Grill version, 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.
- Sift the flour. Sifting sounds a bit strange for bread, 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 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 loaves, keeping the crust nice and crispy.
Is rosemary bread healthy?
In moderation, it 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) is 325 calories. Scroll down to the bottom of the recipe card below to see the full nutrition facts.
What to Serve with It
- Olive oil dipping sauce. This is by far my favorite way to eat it! 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 recipe. 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 this 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 it in a zip-top bag and store at room temperature. Do not refrigerate, as this will make it go stale quickly.
- If you’re not eating all of it within 24 hours, it’s best to freeze it.
How to Freeze
- Seal 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 it?
- 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.
How to Make
Gather the ingredients: bread flour, salt, yeast, sugar, olive oil, dried rosemary, and water.
Sift the flour once before you begin. This step helps the bread develop a thin, crisp crust when it bakes.
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.
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.
Gradually add more water as needed until a somewhat sticky dough has formed and all the flour is picked up from the bowl.
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.
Another indication of a well-kneaded dough is seeing air bubbles in the skin. 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.
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.
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.
Just before baking, you can slash the top if you want. Use a baker’s lame or a sharp serrated knife to do this.
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 it 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.
- Always use bread flour. It has a higher protein content than all-purpose, making a loaf that’s more chewy and rises higher.
- Be careful to add the right amount of water. Too little water, and it will be dense, tough, and dry; too much water, the dough 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, 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 it is cooked. It’s very difficult to tell otherwise. It should have a minimum internal temperature of 190 F.
- King Arthur Bread Flour: this is my all-time favorite flour. I recommend you use it for every bread you make.
- Digital Kitchen Scale: measuring ingredients accurately couldn’t be easier with this scale!
- Wilton 11×17-Inch Cookie Sheets: these warp-resistant cookie sheets are my favorite ones for baking.
- Stainless Steel Lasagna Pan: this pan is perfect for adding steam to the oven while the loaves bake.
- Digital Thermometer: you’ll always know if your loaf is baked by using this thermometer.
Other Homemade Breads You’ll Love
The pleasure of a 5-star review would be greatly appreciated.Print
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!
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 (325–350 ml)
For the Decoration
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
Making the Dough (45 min + 1 1/2 hrs proving)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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)
- Uncover the loaves. If desired, slash the top with a baker’s lame or a very sharp serrated knife.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Let the loaves cool on a wire rack for 1 hour before serving. Slice or tear into pieces and dip in extra virgin olive oil mixed with freshly ground black pepper.
- Use bread flour. It has a higher protein content than all-purpose flour, ensuring a chewy, high-rising loaf.
- Knead until the dough passes the test as described in the instructions above. Don’t skimp on this.
- Shape the loaves tightly. This encourages the bread to rise upwards, not spread outwards.
- Bake with steam. Putting a pan of water in the oven as it bakes will ensure a crispy crust.
- The bread is baked when it has an internal temperature of 190 F.
- Category: Bread
- Method: Baked
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: rustic rosemary bread, macaroni grill bread