Rosemary Focaccia

“If thou tastest a crust of bread, thou tastest all the stars and all the heavens.”Robert Browning (1812-1889) English poetFocaccia starts with a simple dough and can be formed into many shapes and topped with a multitude of fragrant ingredients, the easiest one being olive oil, coarse sea salt and just about any fresh or dried herb. Eaten just warm or at room temperature, focaccia can be served at any meal, as a snack or split as bread for a sandwich or shaped into a roll. My favorite sandwich is with the rosemary focaccia split and spread with tomato chutney, romaine lettuce and leftover grilled pork tenderloin. The tomato chutney came from my sister who made it with tomatoes from her vegetable garden this summer. Maybe she will share the recipe with me for a future posting.This focaccia is topped with fragrant rosemary, drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with coarse sea salt.Focaccia with Rosemary Sponge or Starter1 teaspoon active dry yeast1/2 cup warm water, 105-115 degrees3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flourDough1 teaspoon active dry yeast1 cup warm water3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oilSponge3 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour2 teaspoons sea saltTopping1 1/4 – 1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil3/4- 1 teaspoon coarse sea saltChopped fresh rosemary and sprigs for garnishFor the sponge, sprinkle the yeast over the warm water in a large bow or mixer bow, whisk and let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes. Stir in the flour, cover tightly and let rise until bubbly and is doubled in size-about 45 minutes.In a heavy duty mixer, add the dissolved yeast and the olive oil to the sponge in the mixing bowl. Mix in with the paddle attachment until well blended. Add the flour and salt and stir until thoroughly mixed, 1-2 minutes. Change to the dough hook and knead until dough is soft and slightly sticky, 3-4 minutes.Sprinkle flour on your work surface and knead the dough briefly.Place dough is a lightly oiled bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled, about 1 1/4 hours.Flatten dough on an oiled 11×17 baking pan and press it out with wet or oiled hands. If dough doesn’t cover the pan, cover and wait 10 minutes for dough to relax. Cover and let rise 45 minutes to an hour. Just before baking, dimple dough with knuckles leaving depressions. Drizzle olive oil over the dough, letting some pool in the depresssions. Sprinkle with sea salt and chopped rosemary.At least 30 minutes before you bake the focaccia, preheat the oven to 425 degrees Farenheit with a baking stone. When focaccia has risen and is ready to bake, place pan on baking stone and spray the oven walls with cold water from a spritzer bottle 3 times during the first 10 minutes of baking. Continue baking until crust is crisp and the top is golden brown. Remove from heat and place on rack. Serve warm or room temperature.Serves 10-12From Focaccia-Simple Breads From the Italian Oven by Carol Field

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2 Comments

  1. Beatrice
    December 7, 2006 / 1:01 pm

    This looks lovely. I love the spice used.BeaLa tartine gourmandehttp://www.beaskitchen.com/blog/

  2. Lynnylu
    December 9, 2006 / 12:40 am

    Thanks, Beatrice. I am a great fan of your lovely pastry photos and admire your skills.

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