Rosemary Olive Oil Sourdough – Recipe

Rosemary Olive Oil Sourdough

The most recent experimentation on my sourdough journey has been adding herbs and other inclusions to my bread. While I love a simple sourdough boule I wanted to spice up my loaves with interesting flavors and textures.

When I was a teenager we used to live near a local supermarket that was on the more “crunchy” side. Their bakery produced an artisan loaf of rosemary bread that was an absolute delicacy. Perfect with every meal, it was commonplace in our kitchen in its printed brown paper bag.

In my quest to find a traditional sourdough recipe for this type of bread, I found two things to be true: it is typically made with olive oil, something that I’m not as experienced with in sourdough; and the rosemary is either added to the olive oil to impart flavor, or the dried herb is chopped and added to the dough – but NEVER both. So, in typical fashion, I decided to put my own twist on the traditional and do the rosemary flavoring a little differently.

To begin, I harvested some rosemary fresh from the garden and added it to a pint jar of good quality olive oil to marinate for a few days. The smell, even after the first day, was absolutely heavenly! I kept checking the oil until it reached the desired saturation and then prepared my sourdough starter for baking the next day.

While researching the effect of adding oil to your sourdough bread I found a great video by FoodGeek:

And armed with hours of researched information I mixed up my very first loaf of rosemary olive oil sourdough.

As I said before I decided to flavor the bread with both infused oil and chopped herbs. However, instead of using dry rosemary, I pulled the sprigs I had marinated and removed the leaves from the stems to include in the dough. I chopped them pretty finely, but this would be up to personal preference. I was so happy with how this turned out for numerous reasons, the most important being the texture of the rosemary itself. Oftentimes when baking with rosemary it can be tough or sharp on the palette; but after soaking up all that olive oil it was the perfect consistency.

I make sourdough the no-fuss way: combine all ingredients, stretch and fold a few times, leave for bulk fermentation and then bake. The biggest issue I’m still having with my bakes is scoring high hydration dough. If I try to do any kind of scoring that isn’t extremely simple, I don’t get good results. However, just an expansion score does fine, and I like the texture of a very wet dough so much more that I’m willing to sacrifice aesthetics.

The best baking tip that I’ve learned on my sourdough journey thus far is to leave the lid on the dutch oven for the entirety of the bake. While most artisan bread has a thick, crusty exterior, we prefer a soft, crispy crust. It’s easier for my toddler to eat, and I like to preserve the roof of my own mouth as well.

So while my scoring isn’t the most attractive this is by far the best sourdough product I’ve made. The olive oil keeps the crumb a bit tighter, but it’s unbelievably moist and had the most perfect flaky crust. It slices like a dream and is fabulous with pasta, as toast, or for sandwiches.

If you have a good, strong sourdough starter and some fresh rosemary available I highly recommend trying this recipe. We served it with spaghetti and a side salad and it was pure heaven!

Rosemary Olive Oil Sourdough

Rosemary Olive Oil Sourdough

Prep Time 30 min Cook Time 45 min Total Time 1 hr 15 mins
Servings: 1


If you have a good, strong sourdough starter and some fresh rosemary available I highly recommend trying this recipe. We served it with spaghetti and a side salad and it was pure heaven!



  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine water and flour and bring together into a sticky, cohesive dough. Cover and allow to rest (autolyse) for 30 minutes.

  2. Add the sourdough starter, olive oil, rosemary and salt to the bowl. Dimple and fold together until well mixed.

  3. Begin stretching and folding. I recommend doing at least 4 stretches at 15-minutes intervals; an additional 2 folds at 30 minutes are optional but produce more aeration in the dough.

  4. After the final stretch and fold, turn into a well-oiled bowl or floured banneton for bulk fermentation. Cover and allow to rise for 6-12 hours depending on the activity of your starter. It should at least double in size.

  5. Place a dutch oven with lid in the oven and preheat to 450°. Turn the dough out onto a piece of parchment paper, and score as desired. When the oven is preheated place the dough on the parchment paper into the dutch oven. Turn the oven heat down to 435° and bake for 40-50 minutes. For additional brownness remove the lid for the final 10-15 minutes of baking.

  6. Remove from the oven and turn onto a cooling rack. Allow to cool for half an hour before slicing. Cool completely before storing.

Keywords: bread, rosemary, sourdough
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