Rosemary Rolls

Rosemary Rolls–some made into the shape of a heart

Mixed: 12:30 pm

Molded: 2 :00

Baked: 3:30

Gave to parents of brand-new-baby Salem Isabel!

Here’s a recipe showing how I bake using my kitchen aid as a mixer. I love to mix my doughs by hand, but every now and again I end up using the machine. Recently, when my shoulder was giving me painful fits, it was the only way I was able to make bread using just one arm.

EVERYONE in our home loves rosemary rolls–I love them most at the mixing stage, when I’m chopping the rosemary and the pungent smell fills the kitchen; it rubs all over my hands and lifts my spirits. With the smell seems to come an extra dose of hope and joy to my day, and those are two virtues that I can’t get enough of…

Rosemary grows like a wild weed here in Santa Barbara. Here’s a photo of one planted in our yard, which I’m trying to prune to fan out below my office window.

Rosemary is planted in medians along the roadways here, it crawls up stone walls, and sometimes the upright shrub can be seen reaching to the sky, pretending to be a tree… It’s from the mint family, which explains the intense aroma, and its native growing ground is in the Mediterranean. If you live in a colder climate, you can pot it and bring it indoors, like we did when we lived in Colorado. Rosmarinus means “dew of the sea” and maybe it’s my love for the ocean that causes me to bake these rolls so very often. (If you’re not my friend on facebook, where I post my weekly beach photos, friend me!)

Here is a quick recipe for one of my favorites! If you give it a whirl, I’d love to hear how the recipe worked for you.

(By the way, it’s basically my French bread recipe except for these three differences. It’s mixed with a machine, rosemary is added, and I’ve increased the amount of ingredients in order to make a bigger batch of dough for more rolls. Makes about 16.)

Time Commitment: Depending on the temperature in your kitchen, have to be in and out of the house for at least 3 1/2 hours in order to make these rolls. If you choose to retard the dough after the first rise, then it makes this recipe very flexible.

Tools you need:
  • Cookie sheets or bread peel
  • Large mixing bowl
  • an oven :)
  • Kitchen-aid or other such mechanical bread mixer thingy
  • Other tools I use, but that aren’t imperative: spray bottle, parchment paper, dough scrapers, baking stone,


  • 4 cups all-purpose flour (I use Trader Joe’s unbleached flour in the blue bag)
  • 1 cup bread flour (could use all TJ’s flour, but I like to add a bit of high protein bread flour to the mix)
  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast (can use cake yeast, just need to double it)
  • 16-17 ounces of cool or lukewarm water
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons salt (I like sea salt)
  • rice flour or corn meal for dusting
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
What to do:

Step One: Combine all dry ingredients in mixer bowl set with a dough hook. Mix for a quick minute, then add all of the water. Mix on second setting (not too fast and not too slow) for about 6-7 minutes.

Step Two: Add rosemary. Mix for another two or so minutes. The dough should be flinging around the inside of the mixing bowl, hopefully not sticking to the sides of the bowl. If it’s really sticking, then add more flour little by little. Be careful not to over-flour your dough; it makes the bread awfully dense. Do the dishes, or the laundry, or light a candle while the mixer does its work.

Step Three: Oil a large glass or ceramic bowl. Transfer your dough from the mixer to the oiled bowl. Cover with a damp towel. Allow it to rise for at least an hour (in my kitchen it usually takes at least 90 minutes–and more typically 2 hours) until doubled in bulk. If I want it to rise more quickly, then I heat my oven to 100 degrees (this is a very low setting and many ovens don’t go this low, but you could just heat your oven for 4-5 minutes, then turn it off…) and proof the dough inside the warm oven.

Step Four: Time to prepare my pans for baking, then mold the dough. First, I take out a sheet of parchment paper and place it on a cookie sheet. I reuse my sheets of parchment paper 2-3 times. I sprinkle the paper with rice flour (you can also use corn meal or regular flour) in order to easily remove the bread when it’s baked.

Divide the dough in half with a sharp knife or dough scraper. Then divide each piece in half (that makes four). Then halve the little doughlets again (that makes eight!). Then in half again!!! 16 🙂 I love making rolls; my brothers can mold rolls using both hands at the same time. I’m not that gifted. Maybe someday.

To shape the rolls, fold the dough in thirds, then with the seam side down, begin to roll the dough like a top across your counter, spinning on the inside of your cupped palm. Make sure your counter is clean and not dusted with flour, so the dough sticks to it a bit. I tried to demonstrate this in the video. Once the rolls are shaped and placed on the parchment paper, cover them with a damp cloth.

(Step Four and a Half: This is an optional step, and is the point when you can easily put your molded loaves into the fridge for a period of retarding. I’ve retarded loaves for between two and twelve hours… Just make sure your molded dough is covered with a moist cloth; you don’t want it to dry out. If you’re putting the loaves into the fridge for just an hour or two, then it’s best to let them rise a bit before putting them next to your chilly leftovers. If you’re retarding your bread all night, then you probably don’t need to let them rise at all before you head to bed…

When you remove the dough from the fridge, if the loaves have fully doubled their bulk, then set them on the counter just a few minutes before you bake. If the dough hasn’t fully risen when you pull them from the fridge, then allow them to finish rising, then straight into the oven they go.)

Step Five: Allow the dough to again double in size. This rise takes less time than the first, usually about 40 minutes to an hour. About 30 minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 500 degrees.

Step Six: Your rolls are ready to bake and the oven is HOT. Place your cookie sheet onto the baking stone in the center of the oven. Take a spray bottle and spray in your oven, (I like to spray below the bread, but be careful of the heating elements…) to create steam. I typically do this twice during the first 10 minutes of baking.  Bake for 10 minutes.

Reduce the heat of the oven to 425 degrees. Rolls take less time to bake than larger loaves–I typically bake the rolls for another 16-18 minutes (a total of 26-28 in all).

Step Seven: Remove the bread from the oven, and cool on a rack for at least 30 minutes.  Then, the best part. Share : )


11 thoughts on “Rosemary Rolls

  1. I can’t wait to try this!! I don’t have a kitchen aid. Do you think I can use an electric hand mixer?? They looked amazing!

    • Kristin–I don’t think an electric hand mixer would work (though I’ve never tried–I think it would chop and stretch the dough, which isn’t that great for building gluten…) But, if you have a food processor, I’ve heard that kneading can be done that way. Here’s a link to some instructions, though we don’t have a machine like that in our kitchen, so I don’t have any personal experience to speak from:

      But, hand-mixing really is the best. It’s such a great time to meditate while your hands work away. I just love it!

  2. I want to try this! Love rosemary!!!! I think my Kitchen-aid (handed down from Tom’s grandpa) is on its last legs though. 😦

    I began using my Kitchen-aid when I used to make the Prosphora. I enjoy the kneading process, but I think either: a) I don’t do it right or b) I’m not stong enough; because I always run into problems with the dough rising (it doesn’t) when I hand knead.

    Anyway, I began to suspect that the motor is wearing down in the Kitchen-aid, because – even using that to knead with the dough hook – I began having rising problems again with the Prosphora. I tried three batches one day – none turned out! I even went and bought new ingredients…

    Hmm…just realizing that you use a dough paddle, not a hook. I don’t have a paddle. Do you ever use a hook?

    • Wendy–it could be that you have too much dough in the mixer… I know that when I try to make a batch of bread in the Kitchen Aid that has more than six cups of flour, (I don’t have the huge, monster-sized, industrial Kitchen Aid) that I feel as though the machine is on its last legs… I think prosphora typically calls for quite a bit of flour…

      When you’re hand kneading you really need to give the dough a workout, slamming it around and pushing into it with force. I like making the smaller batches because I don’t want my biceps to be too massive! No, just kidding there… But really, 7 cups of flour is a lot to hand knead. A great workout…

      When your dough doesn’t rise, it could be that you are heating your water too warm, which ends up killing the yeast. I used to always use heated water when I mixed dough, but I don’t anymore. I just use the cool water that comes straight from my filter.

      You can always test to see if your yeast is alive by putting some into a bit of water. If it starts to foam after several minutes then you know it’s active. If it doesn’t then it’s already in yeast heaven…

      I changed the wording in the recipe to “hook.” Sorry about that! I use the “paddle” to make chocolate chip cookies 🙂

      Hope you keep trying!

    • Joanne–I especially loved adding the carpooling bit into the video. 🙂 Having those boys so grown up in the car is amazing. I actually enjoy that time (unlike when they were all about nine years old and they had to yell and argue and constantly banter with one another over the seats. Remember? I wished instead for calgon–or at least earplugs…).

  3. Hey Jane! Very cool. I like your heart shaped roll collection. This is fun. Make me want to make bread today to. Taxes instead….but maybe bread too!!! After all it is valentines day.
    Have a lovely one.

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