8.17.2011

rosemary olive oil focaccia


photos courtesy of The Son

The Daughter has baked this bread twice for us, and it always disappears within 24 hours. Freshly baked bread is a luxury unto itself. Nothing quite beats the experience of cutting a slice of hot bread, slathering it with butter, and biting into a crisp-chewy fragrant bit of heaven.

It's amazing that so few ingredients yield such wonderful, tasty results. You need a bit of time to let the dough rest and rise; otherwise, the actual hands-on time is minimal. You can prepare the dough a day or two in advance, as it keeps well in the fridge for 2 days or so. Just be sure to deflate it by punching it down if you don't use it the next day. Give it a try and tell me what you think!


A mound of yeasty dough with fresh rosemary leaves

Puddles of olive oil pool in the dimpled dough.

Golden brown perfection

Rosemary and Olive Oil Focaccia
from Flour, by Joanna Chang

1¾ cups (420 grams) water, at body temperature (when you put your finger in it, it should feel neither warm nor hot)
1 teaspoon active dry yeast or 0.2 ounce (5 grams) fresh cake yeast
3½ cups (490) grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
1¼ cups (190 grams) bread flour
3 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
2 tablespoons sugar
¾ cup (150 grams) olive oil
big handful of medium-coarse yellow cornmeal for the baking sheet
2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh rosemary

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, combine the water and yeast and let sit for 20 to 30 seconds to allow the yeast to dissolve and activate. Dump the all-purpose flour, bread flour, 1 teaspoon of salt, and the sugar onto the water and carefully turn the mixer on low speed. Let the dough mix for about 30 seconds. (To prevent the flour from flying out of the bowl, turn the mixer on and off several times until the flour is mixed into the liquid, and then keep it on low speed.) When the dough is still shaggy looking, drizzle in  ½ cup (100 grams) of the oil, aiming it along the side of the bowl to keep it from splashing.

With the mixer still on low speed, knead the dough for 4 to 5minutes, or until it is smooth and supple. The dough should be somewhat sticky but still smooth and have an elastic, stretchy consistency. If it is much stiffer than this, mix in a few tablespoons water; if is much looser than this, mix in a few tablespoons all-purpose flour.

(Alternatively — my kids prefer this way !—combine the water and yeast in a large bowl, and then add the other ingredients as directed and mix with a wooden spoon. Once the oil is incorporated, dump out the dough onto a floured work surface and knead for 6 to 8 minutes, or until smooth and supple.)

Lightly oil a large bowl. Transfer the dough to the oiled bowl, and turn the dough to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with an oiled piece of plastic wrap or a lint-free damp cloth. Place the bowl in a draft-free, warm place (78 to 82 degrees F is ideal) for 2 to 3 hours. The dough should rise until it is about double in bulk.

Once the dough has risen, flour your hands and your work surface and turn the dough out of the bowl. Gently stretch the dough into a rectangle about 10 by 15 inches. Sprinkle the cornmeal onto a baking sheet to keep the dough from sticking (we used flour) and place the dough rectangle on the sheet. Generously flour the top of the dough, and then cover it loosely but completely with a piece of plastic wrap or a lint-free damp cloth. Place in a warm area for another hour or so, or until the dough rises a bit and gets puffy and pillowy.

Position a rack in the center of the oven, and heat the oven to 425º F.

When the dough is ready, remove the plastic wrap—call the kids over- they love this too—and dimple the dough all over, using all ten(+) fingers and firmly poking straight down into the dough all the way to the bottom. Sprinkle the rosemary evenly over the top, drizzle evenly with the remaining ¼ cup (50 grams) oil, and then sprinkle evenly with the remaining 2 teaspoons salt.

Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until completely golden brown on the top and bottom. Lift the dough and make sure the underside is browned before pulling it out of the oven, or you will end up with soggy focaccia. Let cool on the pan on a wire rack form about 30 minutes, or until cool enough to handle, then cut into serving pieces.

The bread will keep in a closed paper bag at room temperature for up to 3 days, or tightly wrapped in two layers of plastic wrap in the freezer for up to 2 weeks. If frozen, thaw at room temperature for 3 to 4 hours and refresh in a  300º F oven for 5 minutes, or refresh directly from the freezer in a 300º F oven for 12 to 15 minutes.

15 comments:

  1. Never made focaccia but it looks good. I will have to try it!


    Stop by and link up at What’s Cooking Wednesday!

    http://www.extremepersonalmeasures.com/2011/08/whats-your-favorite-cookbook.html

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great baking by The Daughter and great photos by The Son! I love salty savory bread. I may have to forego my fear yeast and try it! :-)

    ReplyDelete
  3. You go girl! Your kids will love the process, as well as the results.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Mmmmm......focaccia is my favorite bread. Between you and Girlichef today, I've seriously got to have some soon. This looks delicious. Thanks for sharing your recipe!

    ReplyDelete
  5. hope you get to try it! you can get your kids to help out- they love the tactile nature of the activity (sort of like making mud pies, except this one you can eat.)

    ReplyDelete
  6. Wit,wok&wisdomAugust 19, 2011 at 1:10 PM

    Hello Rebecca,
    This is an amazing bread you have baked!Love the recipe and the awesome clicks!I am having a linky party at my place which centers around bread and was hoping if you'd care to take a peek and link-up maybe:) Hope to see you there!

    Cheers,
    Wit,wok&wisdom

    ReplyDelete
  7. holy moly you had me at your love for BUTTER!!! LOve this recipe...I will also pass it along to my mom..I am your newest follower! I hope you will link up here
    http://www.thegingerbreadblog.com/2011/08/sweet-saturday-v1.html

    ReplyDelete
  8. thanks! i'll stop by!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hi Rebecca,
    Your Focaccia is just beautiful. The photo's are outstanding and the recipe looks delicious. We would really enjoy this Focaccia. You have a very nice blog and I am your newest follower. Hope you have a great week end and thanks for sharing with Full Plate Thursday!
    Come back soon,
    Miz Helen

    ReplyDelete
  10. GingerbreadgirlblogAugust 21, 2011 at 12:53 PM

    thank you so much for linking up! I hope to see you next week!
    xoxo

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hi Rebecca,
    Your Rosemary Olive Oil Focaccia is just beautiful. Your photo's are awesome and the recipe looks delicious. I hope that you are having a great week end and thanks for sharing with Full Plate Thursday.
    Come back soon!
    Miz Helen

    ReplyDelete
  12. Hi, there! You've got so much creativity and I'm admiring them all. Can you share your creative posts at my Creative Bloggers' Party & Hop? Hope to see you there :)

    ReplyDelete
  13. Congratulations,
    Your recipe is featured on Full Plate Thursday. Hope you are having a great week and enjoy your Red Plate.
    Miz Helen

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...