Italian Rosemary and Raisin Buns

This recipe is from ‘Whole Grain Breads’ by Beatrice Ojakangas. I have a few of her cookbooks and this recipe for rosemary and raisin buns sounded like it would be good with fresh pea soup.
This is a holiday bread in Italy that is typically eaten before Easter, like hot cross buns. These buns are rich with eggs and olive oil as well as rosemary and golden raisins. I was instantly attracted to this recipe as I have two large rosemary bushes in front of my house that I like to use. I also like to make polenta with my rosemary. I made a small batch of 8 buns using my stand mixer to mix and knead the dough. My biggest challenge with this recipe was constantly opening the cookbook to the wrong page and reading the directions for filling and shaping the Swedish Tea Ring, the following recipe in the cookbook, why does that always happen when you make a new bread recipe? Because the instructions are all almost the same, mix, shape, bake etc. The differences being amounts, ingredients or something that gets your attention so that you realize you are once again reading the directions for the Swedish Tea Ring. Maybe I will try making that for my next baking project, probably not.

This is why it’s worth the trouble to make your own bread sometimes, beautiful and tasty buns.


2 large eggs, plus 2 egg yolks
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary, plus extra for sprinkling
3 cups European-Style King Arthur’s Artisan Flour, or 2 & 1/2 cups bread flour and 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 & 1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
2/3 cup golden raisins


1. Place one egg and one egg yolk in a one cup measuring cup and add enough warm water to fill the cup. Pour it along with the sugar into a warmed mixing bowl and add the yeast. Let stand for 5 minutes then add the additional egg and egg yolk along with the oil, salt, rosemary and half the flour. Beat until smooth. Cover and let stand for 15 minutes.

2. Slowly add the rest of the flour and beat until a soft dough forms. Knead the dough with the dough hook on medium speed until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and is smooth and springy to the touch. If the dough is too wet or sticky, add more flour. Knead in the raisins.

3. Remove the dough and knead a few times on the counter. Clean and lightly oil the bowl, place the dough back in and turn it over to grease the top. Cover the dough and let rise until doubled, about one hour.

4. Punch the dough down, divide into 8 equal parts, roll into balls and place the buns on parchment lined baking sheets.

5. Let rise in a warm place until almost doubled, 45-60 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375°

6. Brush the rolls with olive oil and sprinkle with rosemary. Slash the tops with a big X to make a cross shape. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until buns are golden. Cool on a wire rack.


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