A good focaccia bread recipe has been a personal vendetta. Baking is not my particular forte. Yeast is a tricky, elusive bastard. Measuring cups shoot me in the heel. The entire art of baking escapes me completely. But I still want focaccia. Chewy on the inside, crunchy on the outside, full of the flavor of herbs, salt, and olive oil. That is it. None of this other goofy stuff people like to top their focaccia with. I am a purist.
Yet somehow, every time I try to bake focaccia something goes dreadfully wrong. I often end up with something resembling a dense cracker. (See: yeast troubles.) But I finally got it.
This recipe is not only easy, it has perfect flavor and all the things I want out of my focaccia bread. My fiance and I ate half of this recipe in one evening, as well as the delicious eggplant parmigiana that I made. My house smelled amazing.
All you really need with this bread, is a glass of good red wine. It is best about 5 minutes after you take it out of the oven. But it really does still taste pretty good the next day.
I don’t have many pictures for this one. I was cooking the main course at the same time and it was all a little hectic in my tiny kitchen. I just forgot, until the end. Let me tell you though, my house smelled amazing.
- 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast (1 packet)
- 1 3/4 cup warm water
- 1 tsp honey
- 4 cups all purpose flour
- 2 tsp salt
- olive oil
- flakey sea salt
- 5-6 sprigs fresh rosemary
Start by proofing the yeast. Do this by dissolving the honey and then the yeast in the warm water and let set for several minutes, until the yeast begins to foam. Sift together the flour and salt and put in the bowl of a mixer. When the yeast/water/honey mixture is ready, add it to the flour. Use the dough hook of your mixer and let it knead the dough on low for seven or eight minutes, or until smooth and elastic. The dough is wet and still a bit sticky.
When the dough is ready, put about 2 teaspoons or so of olive oil in a bowl. Put a couple drops on your hands and pull the dough out of the mixer. Rub all sides in the oil so that the dough does not stick. Cover with a towel and put it somewhere warm and dry to rise for around two hours. The dough ball should double in size.
After rising, spread another 2 tsp or so olive oil in a 9″x13″ baking sheet. Spread the dough out in the sheet, stretching it to the corners. Cover again and let rest for about 40 minutes.
Prep the rosemary by taking the leaves off the stem and chopping them coarsely. After the dough has rested, sprinkle the rosemary over it. Feel free to use more or less rosemary as desired, or to add other herbs as well. Thyme especially works quite well on this bread. After sprinkling desired amount of herbs, use your fingers to dimple the surface of the dough. Sprinkle with about a tablespoon more of olive oil over the top, letting some oil pool int he simples. Sprinkle with about a tablespoon or however much you desire of flakey sea salt. Bake at 450 degrees fahrenheit for around 20 minutes. The top should be golden brown.
Pull the bread out and let cool on a rack for five to ten minutes before serving.
Consume this bread with large glass of good red wine and some excellent company for maximum enjoyment. 🙂