Rosemary Focaccia

Yield: One 13x10x1-inch loaf

Making focaccia is not hard – it just takes time. Trust me, it’s time well spent. In fact, most of the time is spent waiting (or doing other things) between a series of simple steps. All in all, it takes about 3 1/2 to 4 hours. Serve it warm, with olive oil for dipping, or for a real treat, with the tomato and basil topping.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups warm water
  • 1 packet (or 2 teaspoons) active dry yeast
  • 4 1/2 cups flour, plus additional for kneading
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt, plus additional for sprinkling
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped rosemary, divided
  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil

Topping Ingredients (optional):

  • 3 cups roughly chopped red, green, and yellow tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Procedure:

  1. Measure two cups of warm water into a large bowl. (Run water from the tap on the inside of your wrist. It should feel a bit warmer then your body temperature – not hot).  Sprinkle yeast on top of water and set aside for 10 minutes, until yeast is fully dissolved.
  2. Add the flour, 1 tablespoon sea salt, and 1 tablespoon chopped rosemary to yeast mixture. Stir until a sticky dough comes together.
  3. Sprinkle the counter with flour. Turn dough out onto counter and knead for approximately 10 minutes, or until dough takes shape and is springy to the touch. Add flour as necessary to prevent sticking, one tablespoon at a time.
  4. Place dough into a well-oiled bowl and cover with plastic. Set it aside in a warm place to rise for approximately 1 1/2 hours, or until doubled in size.
  5. Punch dough down in bowl, shape into a ball, and let rise again, for 45 minutes.
  6. Grease a 15×10 sheet pan. Punch dough down (yet again) and use your fingertips to stretch the dough into a 13×10 inch rectangle on the prepared sheet pan. Let the dough rest for about 5 minutes. If you need to stretch it out a bit more, do it now. Sprinkle dough evenly with 2-3 tablespoons olive oil, remaining chopped rosemary, and some sea salt. Let dough sit, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Preheat oven to 475 degrees.
  7. Poke dough with your fingertip to make indentations across the surface. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

For optional topping: Mix chopped tomatoes with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and chopped basil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cut focaccia into slices and top with tomato mixture.

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