I have always thought of bread as being out of my league. My family never made bread growing up and the families who did owned a bread maker. San Francisco provides endless varieties of wonderful bread and thus I am rarely tempted to pursue the art of bread-making myself.
Niky brought home rosemary from the grade school she student teaches at in the Tenderloin and she gave the beautiful herb to me! The first ideas that popped into my head included pork chops, lamp, chicken, etc. However, after poking around a bit on Epicurious I decided to make Rosemary Focaccia.
I altered the recipe a tad by reducing the amount of flour (per the reviewers' suggestions), using fine instead of course sea salt, and infusing the olive oil with rosemary and lemon zest to enhance the flavors. Also, I hand mixed and kneaded the bread, which was worrisome since the recipe required a standing mixer (not in my budget right now). I should have never worried at all.
This bread was incredibly easy and satisfying. I have never eaten warm Focaccia straight out of the oven before and I am not sure if I can go back. The bread was airy and light and the rosemary was not overpowering. This is a must have recipe, especially for the Holidays, and a great crowd pleaser!
Let the yeast and the warm water sit until the water becomes creamy.
Mix the flour, water, oil, and salt together with a fork....or if you are not old school like me :) use the paddle attachment in a standing mixer.
Knead, knead, knead!
Wait, wait, wait...
Whoa....about to explode!
I should have made extra infused oil for dipping!
If you think you placed too much oil on top, don't worry because the bread will soak it up while its' cooking.
Adapted from Rosemary Focaccia in Gourmet March 2002
1 (1/4-ounce package) Active Dry Yeast
4 Cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour - Plus Additional for work surface
1/4 Cup + 3 Tbsp Olive Oil
2 tsp Chopped Fresh Rosemary
Zest from one Lemon
2 1/2 tsp + 1 tsp Sea Salt
Stir together 1 2/3 cups lukewarm water (105 to 115 degrees Fahrenheit) and yeast. Let stand until water is creamy, about 5 minutes. Mix in 4 cups flour, 2 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/4 cup olive oil and mix well with a fork. This can be done in the mixer with the paddle attachment, but I don't own one yet! Once the mixture comes together in a ball, turn out onto floured work surface. Knead adding more flour as necessary for approximately 2 minutes. Place dough into oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let sit for one hour until doubled in size.
Remove dough from bowl and press evenly into a baking pan approximately 10" x 15". Cover with dish towel and let sit one hour.
Preheat oven to 500˚F.
Warm 3 Tbsp with rosemary and lemon zest.
Poke dough in baking pan all over with your finger. Pour rosemary lemon olive oil all over the bread and let the oil sink into the crevices. Use brush to spread evenly.
Bake for 5 minutes at 500˚F and then reduce heat to 425˚F. Cook for 15 - 20 more minutes. Remove from oven and slide onto cutting board. Serve warm or at room temperature.