Rosemary Tomato Focaccia Bread
Someone asked me to come up with a list of my five favorite foods. It wasn't an easy task, but after much thought, I finally narrowed it down to these five eatables:
Number six would have been bread, but she didn't ask.
My father's Italian, and I grew up with this focaccia recipe. (The first half of that sentence was misleading - it had nothing to do with the second half; the recipe isn't from the Italian side of my family. It's from my mother, born and raised in Massachusetts.)
I've had many a focaccia bread, but this one is my favorite. I thought maybe it was my favorite because I grew up with it. So I conducted a scientific experiment. Here's what I did: I asked other people if they liked this focaccia too. They said yes. So there, irrefutable and solid proof that it's good, based on SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE.
For toppings, I chose cherry tomatoes, fresh rosemary, and coarse salt. Mmmmmm....
May I also suggest sautéed or roasted eggplant and zucchini if you want to get extra fancy? Or simply dried rosemary if you don't have the fresh stuff? Thanks for lending your ear.
Also, use this focaccia for sandwich bread!!! And another amazing thing to make with this dough? PIZZA!!!!!!
ROSEMARY TOMATO FOCACCIA BREAD
Adapted from The King Arthur Flour Cookbook
Yield: Two thinnish 9X13 focaccias or 1 fluffy almost-the-size-of-a-cookie-sheet focaccia
1 3/4 cups warm water
2 teaspoons sugar
1 packet instant/active dry yeast
4 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup olive oil, + lots more for drizzling
1 tablespoon salt
Desired toppings (I used coarse salt, cherry tomatoes, and fresh rosemary)
Combine the warm water, sugar, and yeast. Let rest till yeast foams.
Add in the oil, flour, and salt. Knead by hand on a floured surface (or in machine with dough hook) until it's all combined, smooth, and springy.
Round the dough, place into an oiled bowl, and cover and let rise in warm spot till doubled in size (1+ hours).
Preheat oven to 475F.
If making two thinner focaccias, divide dough in half and spread into two 9x13 pans. If making one fluffy focaccia, drop onto oiled baking sheet and flatten gently to spread till 3/4 inch thickness. Let rise again for 30+ minutes.
Make indentations all over the dough with fingertips. Drizzle olive oil generously over dough, and top with desired toppings.
Bake 15-20 minutes, until golden. For a crunchy bottom, remove focaccia from pan and let it bake directly on oven rack for a few more minutes.
On a completely unrelated note, EVERY TIME: