I’ve been feeling uninspired to blog. I think most of this has to do with the fact that school just started and has given me a case of hatred for everything since it completely ruined my motivation for baking/cooking.
You see, I’m an accounting major and just our concentration is 27 (I’m not kidding) units. On top of that we had to complete the 18 unites of pre-major work and complete the 30 units of major core classes. For a grand total of 75 units….on top of our general education classes. So once you miss a class or can’t get into a class for that semester your graduation is pushed back an entire semester. Ugh. Totally obnoxious. And since Sacramento State has cut back classes and the business department has declared impaction professors are not allowed to add any students in the first two weeks, which also happens to be the only time students can add/drop classes. Total frustration. Luckily, Sacramento State just put in a super nice gym on campus so I can at least run my frustrations away. Ugh. And we don’t have furloughs, I’ll miss my mini-vacations from class.
But now I am back, and I do have things to share!
I’d been wanting to make focaccia for a long long time, but always figured it was just as involved as other breads.
Oh boy, I was wroooooooooong. Focaccia is about on rung above no knead bread on the bread making ladder. And its even simpler if you have a stand mixer to do the one round of kneading for you. But even if you don’t have a stand mixer, the bread is still a one bowl operation you’ll just need to knead it by hand. Which if you aren’t a freak of nature, like me, won’t be a problem since you’ll be fine with touching the dough.
I decided to go with Nicole of Baking Bites recipe for rosemary and garlic focaccia. I picked this recipe because the dough seemed simple enough to alter after I made it. The garlic and rosemary have a wonderfully savory note to the bread that isn’t over overpoweringly rosemary-y or garlic-y.
Before you bake the loaf, you brush some olive oil over the top and then salt is sprinkled over the top. I used kosher salt. After you eat a slice you’re seriously licking your lips for more. Its that addicting.
The bread itself is so light and airy and wonderful when dipped in some balsamic vinegar.
Nicole mentioned that the bread is best the same day its made, but can be stored in an air tight container and then put in a 350 degree oven for 5 minutes to be crisped up the next day. I just sliced and ate it the next day and it was still delicious.
The longest part of the recipe is letting the dough rise. Total rising time is about two hours. The first rise is until it’s doubled in size and that took about 1 and half hours, and then the second rise is about 30 minutes. Baking was relatively quick – only 30 minutes, but you DO have to wait for it to cool before you eat it. Which is torture and I apologize in advance.
I’m going to use this recipe this weekend to make another batch of focaccia, but with basil, sun-dried tomatoes and garlic. Hopefully it turns out well!
Rosemary and Garlic Focaccia
Note: Grease the pan well, or the bread will stick.
2-4 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups bread flour (or all purpose flour)
2.5 teaspoons active dry yeast (.25 oz)
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp olive oil
1 cup water
1 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
1 tbsp olive oil, for brushing over the dough before baking
extra olive oil for cooking garlic
Kosher salt, or other coarse salt
Mince the garlic or use a garlic press. In a small pan heat a small amount of olive oil over medium heat. Once warmed add garlic and saute until fragrant. Once fragrant, remove from heat and pour the olive oil and garlic into a small bowl to allow to cool.
In the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a large mixing bowl), combine flour, yeast, sugar and salt. Use a whisk to mix (cause that dough hook isn’t too helpful). Add in olive oil, water, garlic, and rosemary and start mixing. Using a spatula (if you’re doing this by hand, use a wooden spoon to mix together) push the mixture towards the dough hook to help combine it. If the dough is too dry to easily form a ball, add a tablespoon (at most two) of water. Mix until the dough pulls away from the side.
Continue to mix on medium-low for another 3-4 minutes. If doing this by hand, you’ll want to flour a clean work surface and knead for about 4 minutes, or until your dough become smooth and elastic.
Lightly grease a bowl, put the dough ball in the bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Place in a warm place and let the dough rest for about 1 1/2 hours or until the dough has doubled in size.
Grease an 8×12 inch baking pan with olive oil. Dump the dough on to the pan and use your fingertips to gently spread out the dough.
Cover with a dish towel and let rise for 30-40 minutes. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.
Brush the top of the dough with 1 tbsp of oil and then sprinkle with kosher salt. Bake for 25-30 minutes until the bread is nicely browned.
Place bread on cooling rack and let cool for at least 20 minutes before slicing. (Good luck)