Sunday, November 23, 2008

Baking Up Bread

I am really getting into this yeast bread thing. Today's featured bread is rosemary focaccia. As I have had good luck with the bread recipes from The Ultimate Southern Living Cookbook so far, I turned to their version of this classic Italian flat bread. Since this is the first time I am making this bread, I decided to halve the recipe this time out.

Here I have extra virgin olive oil, warm water (105 to 115 degrees), black pepper, all purpose flour, kosher salt, unsalted butter, finely chopped fresh rosemary, yeast and garlic cloves.

The first step is to add one package dry yeast to one cup warm water. Set aside for 5 minutes.

Place 2 cups flour in a large bowl.

Add the yeast water to the flour and stir well to combine. You will have a soft dough.

Soft dough: check. Cover and place in a warm place for one hour or until the dough has doubled in size.

Since I have some time, I strip the leaves from the rosemary stems (I bet my rosemary plant thought it would be able to relax once I brought it inside for the winter) and finely chop the leaves. Half of the rosemary goes in a bowl with the butter and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. I also peel and grate the garlic and place that in another bowl with the remaining rosemary, 1-1/4 teaspoons kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper. I set these bowls aside for later.

Might as well brush 1 tablespoon olive oil on a 10" x 15" jelly roll pan while the dough rises.

The recipe did warn that the dough would be very spongy. Guess that translates to very sticky. My dear daughter was nice enough to take this picture and the next so that I wouldn't get dough all over my camera.

At this point I am directed to knead in one more cup of flour until the dough is firm.

Still working in the flour.

Now I mix in the butter, rosemary and salt into the dough. Knead for 5 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and elastic. More flour may be worked in, if needed.

Five minutes later, and the dough is looking good.

Roll or press the dough out into a rectangle and place on the prepared baking sheet. Gently press out the dough into the desired shape.

Cover and place in a warm place for 30 to 45 minutes, or until the dough has doubled in size again.

Once the dough has doubled in size, I poke dimples into the surface of the dough with my fingers.

Sprinkle the rosemary, garlic, salt and pepper mixture over the dough.

Drizzle olive oil over the dough.

Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden brown.

This smells so good.

I like my focaccia dipped in extra virgin olive oil drizzled with good balsamic vinegar, salt and black pepper.

I'm not sure why I was so afraid of yeast breads. Rosie Hawthorne was right. This is easy.


Rosie Hawthorne said...

I floves me some foccacia.
Looks wonderful.

Anonymous said...

It looks delicious. Bread is easy and is such an accomplishment! Even I can bake bread. I will try your recipe soon--after Thanksgiving. Thanks for sharing.