Good bread is the most fundamentally satisfying of all foods; and good bread with fresh butter, the greatest of feasts.
– James Beard
It’s soup night.
I can’t just eat soup.
I need a sandwich or a good bread to go with it.
Today I went to the store for my soup ingredients and browsed through their offerings of bread and quite frankly, wasn’t impressed.
Heck, if I’m going to spend the afternoon making soup…I might as well throw together a bread to have with it.
This recipe is the easiest of bread recipes….even for the bread beginner.
You just need an afternoon to give it time to do the ‘bread thing’ like raising lazily in a warm spot in the kitchen.
Once you have this beautiful dough made…
You’ll want to gently coax it into the corners of a sheet pan.
And yes, you will need to coax it…the bread is elastic but you will need to use your fingers to bring it to the edges..
Ever so gently.
Top with snippets of fresh rosemary and coarse sea salt.
Then let your fingers dance across the dough poking holes before baking….
You can sing a little song along the way…I did!
Remove from oven….and savor…
Trust me, you will…
The beauty of this bread is that you can use it for sandwiches….
cut it into cubes for croutons for salad…
or grind up for breadcrumbs.
It’s all so beautiful…
and makes the kitchen smell good…
and makes anyone who eats it moan…
which makes you feel good!
Rosemary Focaccia Bread
A Kitchen Muse:
slightly adapted from the Williams Sonoma "Essentials of Baking"
4 hours 30 mins
2 pkgs. active dry yeast 1¾ cups warm water 1 tsp. sugar ¾ cup virgin olive oil 5 cups all purpose flour 1 tsp. fine sea salt 2 sprigs fresh rosemary 1 tbs. coarse sea salt
Dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water in the bottom of the bowl of a stand mixer for 5 minutes until foamy. Add ½ cup olive oil, flour and sea salt. Mix using dough hook on low speed for 5-7 minutes until dough is elastic and smooth. You can add up to ½ cup additional flour if needed to prevent dough from sticking. Remove dough from bowl. Form bowl into a ball and place in a lightly oiled bowl covered by plastic wrap. Let raise until double in size for 1 - 1½ hours. After dough is raised, punch dough and prepare pan for baking. Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees and position rack in the bottom third of the oven. Prepare a sheet pan by pouring ¼ cup olive oil over the bottom of the pan. Turn dough into pan and gently nudge the dough to the edges. (If dough doesn't cooperate, give the dough 5 minutes to relax) Once formed, cover the dough with a dish towel - place in warm place and let rise for about an hour. After an hour, gently rub the top of the bread with olive oil. Sprinkle with fresh rosemary and coarse sea salt. Bake the focaccia until golden brown or around 20-30 minutes. Remove from oven. Let cool and cut into squares. Store tightly wrapped in aluminum foil at room temperature for up to a day. Freeze up to 2 weeks. Reheat at 375 degrees for 10 minutes.