Rosemary Focaccia

I was thoroughly spoiled this Easter weekend – leisurely chunks of work broken up by visiting friends in from Calgary & Kingston, a sunny lakeside run, a feast with Dave’s family, and this focaccia, courtesy of rosemary from my grandmother.  Our herb garden’s just starting, so we don’t have any rosemary of our own yet, and I never seem to be able to finish a whole package of herbs with one recipe.  This year I’ve been using up leftover rosemary in this small salty bread.

Cons of this bread include its serving size (small – expect no three-loaf bonanzas), and how quickly it stales (quick.  You’ll want to toast whatever’s leftover the next day).  Taken together though, those are two really good reasons to devour it in one sitting.  We’ve eaten it as is, spread with hummus, dipped in soup, sliced as sandwich bread, or, when sale/overbaked (whoops), cubed & sauteed in olive oil for the world’s best croutons.  Warning: the yeast will make your apartment smell like beer for the entire duration of rising/kneading/baking.  Pair accordingly.  Rosemary Focaccia

from Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant

Ingredients

2 tbsp dried or fresh rosemary leaves
1 cup boiling water
1 package dry yeast
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
3 tbsp olive oil
1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 – 1 1/2 cup white bread flour
1 tsp coarse salt

————————

1.  Finely chop rosemary leaves; scrape them into a large bowl.  Pour the boiling water overtop and let cool until lukewarm.  Add yeast & sugar.  Let sit for ~5 minutes, or until yeast has bubbled.  Add 1 tsp salt, 1 tbsp olive oil, and the whole wheat flour; stir.  1/2 cup at a time, add the white bread flour; stop when the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and set the remaining flour aside.

2.  On a lightly floured surface, knead dough until “smooth and springy” (~5 minutes), and add reserved flour as needed to keep dough from sticking to your hands.

3.  Place dough in an oiled medium bowl, rolling it to coat the dough lightly in oil.  Cover with a damp cloth and place in an empty oven to rise for ~1 1/2 hours, until doubled.

4.  Punch dough down and knead briefly for 1 minute.  Place dough on an oiled baking sheet and stretch it carefully into a rough 12 inch square.  Cover with the damp cloth and return to empty oven to rise for ~45 minutes.

6.  Use your fingertip to make an indentations in the dough every 2 inches.  Sprinkle coarse salt evenly over the bread, and drizzle with remaining olive oil.  Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes, or until golden.

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