Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Rosemary Focaccia (my first ever)

I've always wanted to make focaccia, but never had the time, and frankly I was a little intimidated by the idea of making this wonderful bread at home. I don't know why, it was relatively easy - most of the time involved in making the bread is completely inactive, just waiting for the bread to rise, and the active time in making the bread was pretty simple.

The one bad thing about this bread is that it is so good and tasty, that CB and I downed a whole bottle of Valpolicella wine while we ripped chunks of bread from the loaf and ate them. I mean, really, what is more comforting than warm homemade bread and delicious soft red wine? Not much.

I got this recipe from a book that I bought recently called the Vegetarian Bible. Its a good book, and has a few real good recipes in it like this one.

Rosemary Focaccia
Ingredients | Makes 1 loaf

4 1/2 cups strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting (I used all purpose flour)
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
2 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary, plus sprigs for garnish
6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus more for dusting
1 1/4 cups lukewarm water
1 tsp coarse sea salt

1. Sift the flour and salt together into a bowl and stir in the yeast and rosemary. Make a well in the center, and pour in 4 tbsp of the olive oil, and mix quickly with a wooden spoon. Gradually stir in the lukewarm water but do not over mix. Turn out onto a lightly floured counter and knead for 2 minutes. The dough will be quite wet; do not add more flour.

2. Brush a bowl with oil. Shape the dough into a bowl, put it into the bowl, and put the bowl into a plastic bag or cover with a damp dish towel. Let rise in a warm place for 2 hours, until dough has doubled in volume.

3. Brush a cookie sheet with oil. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured counter and punch down with your first, then knead for 1 minute. Put the dough on to the prepared cookie sheet and press out into an even layer. Put the cookie sheet into a plastic bag or cover with a damp dish towel. Let rise in a warm place for 1 hour.

4. Preheat the oven to 475F. Whisk the remaining oil with a little water in a bowl. Dip your fingers into the oil mixture and press them into the dough to make dimples all over the loaf. Sprinkle with the sea salt, drizzle with the remaining olive oil and sprinkle the loaf with the remaining rosemary.

5. Lower the oven temperature to 425F and bake the focaccia for 20 minutes, until golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool slightly, then serve while still warm. Alternatively, let the loaf cool completely and reheat in a low oven before serving.

Rating - Damn Good


AM said...

My foodie friend makes this, it's really good.
It's fairly time consuming, but impressive.
In Italy they take the zucchini flowers, stuff them with some sort of mild white cheese, dust them with breadcrumbs and fry until crunchy. We were moaning, they were so good.

JB said...

AM - Thanks so much for the link. Yes, stuffed zucchini flowers is something that we love to eat, but as of yet, I am still too intimidated to make it with my own flowers.