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Sunday, November 9, 2008

Rosemary Focaccia Bread

This savory bread can be served with pasta, or other main dish, and can be made into a sandwich, as pictured here. The flavor of the herbs add some life to regular sandwich toppings. I found this particular recipe on and made a few changes to make it my own. The recipe calls for all-purpose flour and I successfully substituted 1/3 of the all-purpose flour with freshly ground whole wheat flour. Any herb, such as sage, thyme, etc. can be substituted for the Rosemary (or a combination of herbs). I also added shredded parmesan cheese to the top before baking.

  • 4 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm (110F) water
  • 2 1/2 cups room temperature water
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil (I use extra virgin olive oil)
  • 6-7 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • Italian herb of choice - sage, rosemary, thyme, etc.
  • 1/4-1/2 cup olive oil
  • salt (coarse or flake)
  1. Combine yeast and warm water in a large bowl and leave until yeast is foamy, about 10 minutes.
  2. Stir in 2 1/2 cups water, 2 Tbsp olive oil, 2 cups flour and 1 Tbsp salt into the yeast mixture. Add in the remaining flour, one cup at a time, until dough comes away from the sides of the bowl into a ball. Add the herb(s) halfway through the flour additions. Move dough to flat surface and knead dough for 5-8 minutes, until the ball is smooth and elastic. Place in an oiled bowl, covered with plastic wrap, until doubled - about 1 hour.
  3. For a rectangular focaccia: Gently lift the dough onto an oiled 11X16 jelly-roll pan (or cut in half and sue two smaller baking sheets with sides ), stretching it out slightly as you transfer it. For a round focaccia: Cut the dough into three pieces and gently lift the dough into three oiled pie pans. *FYI baking stones work great as well.
  4. Splay your fingers and press into dough, indenting it and pushing it out towards the sides of the pan, much like a cat kneading a blanket, until the pan is full. This keeps the air bubbles in the dough. Cover with a damp towel and let rise for 30 minutes.
  5. Preheat oven to 400F.
  6. Dimple dough again with your fingertips, brush with 1/4-1/2 cup olive oil, sprinkle liberally with salt and garnish with herb of choice. Let dough rest until the oven is fully preheated.
  7. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until bread is golden brown. Let cool in pan for 20-25 minutes before removing it to a wire rack to cool completely.

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