Homemade Rosemary Focaccia



One of the best breads around. Just dip it in some tomato sauce or olive oil and you will be pleased. The sponginess of this bread is unbeatable, and the olive oil will have you wanting more. I don't really need to sell this bread, it sells itself. So without further ado, this is the star of my blog so far. It took only the whole day to make, as well as some love and care but turned out beautiful and delicious.

I decided to serve the focaccia with caramelized onions, because I had so much down time waiting for the dough to rise. The flavors of the soft, slightly salty, olive oil focaccia with the sweet carmelization of the onions turned out to be a glorious pair.

Ingredients (2 foccacia loafs):
  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour + extra for kneading
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons (1 package) active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup warm water (~110 F)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 rosemary springs (optional)
  • 1 yellow onion for carmelized onion topping (optional)
  • Coarse salt for topping (optional)
Directions:

1. Put the yeast in 1/4 cup warm water and mix. Leave for 10 minutes or until there is bubbles on the surface.

2. Add 1 cup of the flour with the olive oil, and 3/4 of the warm water into a large bowl. Make a well in the middle and pour the yeast mixture in. Then mix together and slowly incorporate the rest of the water and flour. Work the dough on a flat surface and work until it is smooth, about 8-10 minutes. Then, add the minced rosemary, if you would like.

3. Clean the large bowl and grease with olive oil. Place the dough in the bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let it sit in a warm place for 1 1/2 hours or until it is doubled in size.


4. Take the dough out and divide into two. Then work each half briefly. When the dough is smooth, form a ball and grease a small pan (a pie pan or 8-inch round baking pan works) and place the dough on it. Cover them with a kitchen towel. Let them sit for 45 minutes.

If you desire, you can start the carmelization of the onions at this point. Thinly slice your onion, and put about 2 tablespoons butter in a frying pan. Stir onions with a wooden spoon to scrape off all brown bits off the pan. Do this for about 45 minutes, or until a golden to dark brown. You can put them on top of the focaccia before you bake it or simply top the bread with the onions.



Preheat the oven to 425 F.

5. Then, grease 2 8-inch round baking pans. Stretch one ball of dough in each pan. Use your fingers to stretch them to the sides of the pan. Then, let them sit for 45 minutes, until they rise.

6. After they have risen, poke at the dough with your fingers making shallow indentations. Then, cover again and let them sit for 20 minutes.

7. Put them in the oven for 15 minutes, or until golden brown.

8. Right when they come out of the oven, brush with olive oil and dust with sea salt. Finito!

Cut it like a pizza pie. Top with caramelized onions if desired. But, for sure, serve with olive oil and freshly cracked black pepper, or, use it to scoop up your extra hearty tomato sauce that can't go to waste. 

A final thanks to my little guide book, Pizzas, Fog City Press, 2000.

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