(approximately two dozen rolls)
Note from Nancy: If you’ve got a standing mixer, this is a breeze. And it’s pretty easy even if you’re using a large mixing bowl, a sturdy spoon and your hands. The dough can be prepared earlier in the day for baking later: just keep it covered, and keep punching it down till baking time.
- 2 cups warm water
- 1 package (or scant tablespoon) of dry yeast
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons salt
- ¼ cup of fresh rosemary leaves, finely chopped
- ½ cup mixed olives (kalamatas, green olives, pitted), coarsely chopped
- Approximately 6 cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup cornmeal
- ¼ cup melted butter
- Warm the mixing bowl, rinse.
- Add the water to the warmed bowl, sprinkle in the yeast and sugar, and stir to combine. Let sit a couple minutes.
- Add salt, chopped rosemary and chopped olives: stir.
- Add flour, 1 cup at a time, until the dough pulls away from the bowl and is no longer sticky. (If you’re using a standing mixer, keep testing the dough by pinching it between your fingers. Start doing this after you’ve added about 5-cups of flour. And it wouldn’t kill you to “finish” the dough by kneading in the last cup or more of flour by hand – the better to get the feel for the proper amount of stickiness.)
- Let dough rise in an oiled bowl (covered with a cloth) until doubled.
- Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees.
- Form dough into small balls (about the size of a tangerine) and place on a cornmeal-lined baking sheet.
- Let the rolls sit and rise for about 20 minutes.
- Slash the top with two cuts (kitchen shears work great!), brush with the melted butter.
- Bake until the tops begin to brown, about 15 minutes (though it may take as long as 20 -- keep checking!)