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Preparation Time : 180
Cook Time : 75
Total Time : 255
3 1⁄4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1cup lukewarm water (120F)
1⁄3 cup olive oil
1⁄4 cup fresh rosemary or 1⁄4 cup fresh lavender blossoms, finely chopped
6 3⁄4 cups all-purpose flour (approximately)
yellow cornmeal, as needed
coarse salt, for sprinkling on loaves (optional)
spray bottle filled with cold water, for spritzing loaves
Combine yeast and lukewarm water until well blended and let sit about 10 minutes- it should look foamy and thick (if your water was too hot or your yeast is bad, it will not get foamy and you'll need to start over).
Combine buttermilk, oil, rosemary (or lavender), 1 Tbsp plus 1 tsp salt in a mixer bowl, then add the yeast mixture and combine well.
Add flour gradually, beating slowly until enough flour has been added to form a dough ball that leaves the sides of the bowl in one mass.
Dump any remaining flour onto a flat surface, dump dough onto that surface, and with floured hands knead dough until smooth and elastic, about 5-10 minutes.
Set dough into a large greased bowl, flip dough over to grease both sides, cover with plastic wrap and set in a warm place to rise until doubled in bulk- about 1 1/2 hours.
On dough has risen, place dough onto a floured surface and cut into equal halves and form each half into a round loaf shape.
Set loaves onto a large greased baking sheet dusted with cornmeal.
Cover with a clean, slightly damp towel and let rise 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Using a serrated knife, slash the top of each loaf with an asterisk (*) pattern and sprinkle each with a little coarse salt (optional).
Bake in center of the preheated oven for 15 minutes, spritzing occasionally (at least 2-3 times).
Continue baking another 45-55 minutes (no more spritzing) or until the loaves sounds hollow when rapped on the bottom and they appear golden brown.
Let cool on racks completely.
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