Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Homemade Italian Rosemary Focaccia Bread

Who knew that baking this super soft and amazingly delicious
Italian focaccia bread could be this easy?!?
This focaccia bread is simply delicious. Super soft and wholesome. It combines the fresh aroma of rosemary, and the pungent and fruity flavor of extra virgin olive oil. So simple, but yet so impressive.
I like to bake this bread for our family dinner, but also when I have guests, to serve with a variety of Italian appetizers. Next to some prosciutto or porchetta. With a mozzarella and juicy tomato caprese. Or a selection of olives and cheese.
And here is my secret. A very simple secret that will guarantee your guests begging for another dinner invitation: bake this focaccia right before everybody is supposed to arrive. Nothing compares to the mouth-watering smell of freshly baked bread. The inviting aroma of this focaccia will surely welcome your guests into your dining room, and make them run for their fork and plate.
Everybody will be impressed by your baking ability. But now, look at my recipe: quick and easy. No need for a bread-maker or any other expensive gadget. All you need is a spoon, your hands (... can't do without them!!) and a little bit of patience. All great things take time to bake.
The trick to amazingly soft bread is in the rising. The dough needs a warm and safe place to stay. I cover it with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel, and let it sit for about 3 hours in the oven. Turned off, obviously :-)
I am positive that you can do this. And I know that while you will be mixing, kneading and eating this focaccia you will be asking yourself why did you wait this long to try homemade bread. I know you will!
Ingredients: to make a 9 x 12 in focaccia bread                                                   PRINTABLE RECIPE
  • 1 medium russet potato (mine was 6.5 oz, 185 gr)
  • 2.5 cups (400 gr) of bread flour
  • 1 package of active dry yeast (3/4 oz, 21 gr)
  • 1/4 teaspoon of sugar
  • 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil (divided)
  • 5 rosemary sprigs
  • 2 teaspoons (12 gr) of salt
  • 10 fl oz (300 ml) of water
  • half teaspoon of coarse sea salt (I used lava black sea salt) to sprinkle on top
Preparation time: about 4 hours (35 minutes to prepare, three hours inactive, 25 minutes baking)

Directions:
1. Cook the potato (peeled) in slightly salted water. It should take about 20 minutes. Test with a fork for readiness.
2. In a large bowl add the flour, yeast, sugar, 2 tablespoons of olive oil and most of the rosemary leaves chopped in small pieces. Save 2 rosemary sprigs for the end.  Pass the potato (when still hot) through a ricer into the bowl.

3. Dissolve the salt in 10 fl oz of warm water. Add to the bowl. Mix with a spoon first, until most of the flour is absorbed. Once the dough comes together, move it to a clean, lightly floured counter and knead for several minutes, pushing with your palm down and forward. The dough should be sightly sticking to your hand. Add some flour if too sticky, or add a tiny bit of water if too hard to work.
Place the dough back in the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel. Keep it in a warm place. As I do for my pizza dough, I place it in the oven (turned off obviously!). Let the dough rise for about an hour and a half.

4. Line a 9 x 12 in baking pan with parchment paper. Place the dough on the paper, and flatten it down with your fingers. With your finger, punch some holes on the dough, just like in the picture. Sprinkle with sea salt and the remaining rosemary. Drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
Put the pan back in the off-oven, and let the dough rise for another hour and a half, or so.

5. Remove the pan from the oven, and preheat to 400 degrees. Bake the focaccia bread for about 23- 25 minutes, until slightly golden on top.
Cut in squares and serve warm or at room temperature ... always delicious! Enjoy!












6 comments:

  1. Hi Manuela,

    Just stumbled on your blog while searching for a focaccia bread recipe. Am gladiator found your blog . It's amazing .
    Your focaccia recipie seems really simple and the addition of potato looks really good. Will try this tom and let you know how I did.
    Quick question , is breadflour different to regular flour ? And should we not be adding yeast to the water separately ?
    Or is it fine to mix it with the flour as well ?

    Thanks
    Garima

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    Replies
    1. Hi Garima,
      Bread flour is a bit different from regular (all-purpose) flour. Bread flour is meant just for yeasted baking (bread, pizza dough, ...). It has a higher protein content than regular, which means that more gluten is created during rising. It gives a more substantial dough for a firmer and chewier bread. You can substitute with regular flour, and you might get a slightly softer, less elastic bread.
      You can dissolve the yeast in some water if you prefer. I find it easier and faster this way, and same result!
      Let me know how it goes :) Thank you!!

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    2. Hi Manuela,

      You rock ! The focaccia turned out to be amazingly delicious with subtle flavour of rosemary and olive oil which blended very well. Just enough elastic and dense. I cut it into strips rather than squares :) , could not resist and ate it by itself.. Ah and so filling !.
      I must say I am going to be hooked to your blog now.
      Earlier I tried many recipes from various top notch blogs and famous chefs, they make it seem so simple, but it never turned out that way. I followed your recipe strictly and it turned out exactly as shown in the pictures that you posted. Except that because I have a fan forced oven , the focaccia had cooked but because if did not become golden from top , I kept it for a little longer actually 15 more mins . So the bottom was a little more crispier than it should have been. But that's the oven. Any tips for this ? .

      Nevertheless, I am truly thankful that you started this blog and posted this recipe :).
      Oh and by the way, I did use the bread flour. Ingredients say : Wheat Flour, Wheat Gluten, and Vitamins ( Thiamin and Folate ). I was hoping to try it with Whole Wheat Flour as well . Do you think the results will be similar ? And can I go one step down and use regular wholewheat flour and add Wheat Gluten and the Vitamins separately ?
      Can you suggest where to buy these and the quantities needed ?

      Thanks a lot
      Garima

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  2. Do you have a printable version of this recipe?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Heather!
      I just added a link "Printable Recipe" by the ingredients list. It should work!
      Thank you and have an amazing weekend!

      Delete
  3. Hi ! Do you need to use the potato?
    Thanks!
    Emma

    ReplyDelete