Rosemary Focaccia

The fruteria below had fresh rosemary that caught my eye on Saturday. (Everything is shut on Sunday, Spaniards like their weekends too much to work). I immediately thought of Rosemary Focaccia.

My recipe for focaccia is based on the recipe from “The Complete Italian Vegetarian Cookbook“. The recipe follows and then a few tips and tricks to make it really simple. This could be your first bread baking attempt and trust me, it’s very rewarding.

Rosemary Focaccia

Ingredients:

31/2ย  cups + a few tablespoons all purpose flour

11/3 cups warm water

2 teaspoons active dry yeast

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons salt

Topping

Olive oil – may be 2 tablespoons

Fresh rosemary – a bunch

1 teaspoon sea salt

Method:

1. Mix warm water, yeast and oil in a large bowl. Let it sit for 5 minutes.

2. Mix in the flour and salt and mix till the dough comes together.

3. Transfer dough to a floured surface (the few extra tablespoons of dough) and knead for about 10 minutes. Trust me, this is the hardest step in the recipe. You could do it when you are cooking lunch or something, the focaccia would be ready for dinner.

4. Turn the dough into a oiled bowl (large enough to hold the dough when it doubles) and cover it with a tea-towel and leave it in a warm spot in the kitchen for about 1.5 hours or till it doubles in volume.

5. Punch the dough down, and flatten it on a inch deep pan (this dough is enough for a 15.5X10.5 inch pan) but I didn’t have a rectangular pan, I just used a circular pan.Flatten the dough and let it rise again for another 1.5 hours.

6. Preheat the oven to 215C (425F) for 15 – 20 min. Just before baking, dimple the dough with your fingers (if you have long nails, then your knuckles). Press down a piece of rosemary in each dimple, and drizzle the olive oil on top.

7. Bake it till it turns golden brown, for 20 – 25 minutes. Let it cool a bit and serve warm.

Tips:

1. I served it as a caprese (pronounced ca+prey+sey: something from the Capri region) sandwich with tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and basil. There is enough olive oil and salt in the bread, that you don’t need to add more to the sandwich filling. Or you can serve it with some soup, appropriate for the season.

2. Top it with whatever you like, black olives, onions, sage, red peppers, basil, parmesan, just plain sea salt or anything you like.

3. If you are particular, replace 31/2 cups all purpose flour with 2 cups whole wheat+11/2 cups all purpose flour.

4. If you are serving left over bread the next day, a panini is an excellent option!

Go ahead, bake your own bread!

P.S. I am submitting this to Yeastspotting!

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