Rosemary Focaccia

Growing-up I had many nicknames regarding my stature–string bean, chicken legs, girafe–you get it. I was 5’8’’ and 100 pounds soaking wet. Although I’ve outgrown my chicken legged pre-teen self, thank God, one nickname is very dear to me. This particular nickname was given to me by my dad, he would say, “You’re so tall and skinny, just like Olive Oil from Popeye!”

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So I thought, what better way to pay homage to Olive Oil than making a bread that’s packed with it! Focaccia is an Italian bread that consists of flour, yeast, olive oil, salt and water. It takes just a few hours from start to finish, and is the perfect bread for experimenting with flavors. For this recipe I kept things simple, opting to top my focaccia with a little sea salt and some rosemary from my garden. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

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Risen dough

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ROSEMARY FOCACCIA

Total Time: 3 Hours

Cook Time: 25-30 Minutes

Serves: 12

Directions

Combine warm water (approx. 110 to 115 degree F), yeast and sugar in a small bowl. Put the bowl in a warm, place until the yeast is bubbling and aromatic, at least 15 minutes.

In the bowl of a mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the flour, 1 kosher salt, 1/4 cup olive oil and the yeast mixture on low speed. Once the dough has come together, there will be very little flour left in the mixer bowl, continue to knead for 5 to 6 minutes on a medium speed until it becomes smooth and soft.

Transfer the dough to a clean, lightly floured surface, then knead it by hand 1 or 2 times. Sprinkle the dough with  flour if it is really sticky and tacky.

Coat the inside of the mixer bowl lightly with olive oil and return the dough to the bowl. Cover it with plastic wrap and put it in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size, at least 1 hour.

Coat a pan with the remaining ¼ cup olive oil.

Put the dough onto the pan and begin pressing it out to fit the size of the pan. Turn the dough over to coat the other side with the olive oil. Continue to stretch the dough to fit the pan. As you are doing so, spread your fingers out and make finger holes all the way through the dough. If you do not make the actual holes in the dough, the finished product will be very smooth.)

Put the dough in the warm place until it has doubled in size, about 1 hour. While the dough is rising a second time, preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Liberally sprinkle the top of the focaccia with some coarse sea salt and lightly drizzle a little oil on top. Bake the dough until the top of the loaf is golden brown, about 25 to 30 minutes. Remove the focaccia from the oven and let it cool before cutting and serving.

Ingredients

  • ½ cup and 6 tbsp. warm water
  • 1 ¼ tsp. package active dry yeast
  • ½  tablespoon sugar
  • 2 ½  cups bread flour purpose flour, plus additional for kneading
  • ½  tablespoon kosher salt, plus coarse sea salt, for sprinkling
  • ½  cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided

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