Rosemary Focaccia Bread

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OH MY GOD I CAN’T BELIEVE I PERFECTED THIS! Seriously, I am proud of this recipe. I think it may be my best bread recipe yet, because everything just turned out more than I expected. It was crunchy in the right way on top, and soft, and fluffy, and even though it has whole wheat, it tasted like white bread. THIS IS SO GOOOOD!

I love it when one of the recipes I made turns out so much better than I imagined, because it always gives me a nice surprise.

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So this recipe has a history. I used to work at this dude’s house for his insulation website, and there I met a really awesome friend, his girlfriend at the time, Trina. She was an EXCELLENT cook and we got on so great. She made foods often and would give me a taste.

One day, I ate her focaccia bread, and I WAS IN LOVE! OMG it was so good.

I remember going home just inspired to cook and tried to make one from a random recipe I found online, and it turned out like rocks. Yes, I have this bad history of making breads that turn out stone-hard and inedible. Anyway, I kept trying and eventually perfected it. The version she made at that time I remembered had olives too. Too bad I had no olives in the house.

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While we’re on the subject of talking about my old work, I have a hilarious story to tell. So after his insulation thing got done, he asked to design a site about spraying people’s lawns with turf, and guess what I typed by accident? “We spray your lawns with TURD”. YES, TURD! HAHAHAHA! I don’t even know how it happened, but I either didn’t k now turd meant shit, or I wasn’t looking, but the way he found out was even more hilarious. He was like in the middle of a serious business meeting with all the directors and bosses and was showing them the site and suddenly this pops up, Needless to say, he was embarrassed. HAHA, this is just too funny, I can’t help but laugh about it! (I wish I filmed the moment he found out)

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So about a week or two ago, I got to talk to Trina on Facebook again and we started talking about cooking and food, and I asked her the recipe of her focaccia. To my really huge excitement, she actually still had it, and was kind to share it with me.

So, this was made from her recipe, except I did make a few changes, such as the amount of flour and I used a little bread flour, with some whole wheat pastry flour. I knew if I had made it entirely with whole wheat, it may turn out too dark and I wanted it to look like and taste like how I remembered it, and the result here with both the bread flour and whole wheat just turned out so good.

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Rosemary Focaccia Bread

2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs (sage, oregano, thyme, rosemary)
1 cup bread flour (I used Better for Bread)
1 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour (and 1 tablespoon for kneading)
1/4 cup semolina flour
2 tablespoons extra light olive oil
1/2 teaspoon Himalayan/sea salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2/3 cup warm water
1/3 cup white grape juice (when mixed with warm water, should become lukewarm)
1 tablespoon dry active yeast
2 cloves garlic

Topping
1 tablespoon semolina flour
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
1 clove garlic
Cooking spray (olive oil)
A few sprinkles Himalayan/sea salt

Dip: Garlic flavoured extra virgin olive oil & freshly ground pepper

Get all the fresh herbs (I used 1-2 sprigs of sage, oregano and rosemary) and chop them in small pieces. As for the rosemary, remove the leaves from the stem.

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In a large bowl, combine the bread flour, whole wheat pastry flour, semolina flour, olive oil, salt and garlic powder. Set that aside for now. Also, add in the herbs you chopped from earlier.

In a small bowl, mix together 1/3 cup white grape juice and 2/3 cups warm water to make the liquid lukewarm. Add the tablespoon of yeast and stir until everything dissolves. You should see that there are some little bubbles on top.

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Mix the yeast liquid with the flour and stir. Start kneading it so that it forms a big lump. Once it becomes a block of dough, add 1 tablespoon of whole wheat pastry flour either on a flat wooden board or in the bowl itself, and knead on full force for about 3-5 minutes until the dough becomes smooth, silky and non-sticky. Add a lid, damp town or foil to cover the dough.

Turn on the oven to the lowest setting for about 5 minutes, then turn it off and open the door of the oven. Keep the dough sitting at the door or inside the oven (if it’s not too warm) and allow it to rise for a couple of hours. It’s important that the oven is not turned on when you leave it in there.

Chop up two cloves of garlic finely.

Once the dough has risen about double its size, punch it down, add in the garlic cloves and knead it again until it becomes silky and non-sticky. You may have to add a teaspoon of whole wheat pastry flour so the dough doesn’t stick to your hands.

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Stretch the dough out on a greased square pan or half of a 9×13 inch pan. Shape it into a rectangle/square. Sprinkle the one tablespoon of semolina flour on top, and dust it across the entire surface with your hands. Peel and chop the clove of garlic into very small pieces, take the rosemary leaves off the stems, and sprinkle both the rosemary leaves and garlic bits across the surface of the bread. Press parts of the dough down that has a garlic clove/rosemary leaves to create little dimples.

Give the bread surface a few generous sprays with non-stick cooking oil (I used olive oil) until everything on top is covered in olive oil. Finally, sprinkle some salt all over the surface and put aluminum foil to cover the bread up (don’t cover it too tightly because the bread will rise). Leave it in a warm place to rise for another 15 minutes. (I put mine on top of the oven while it was on, but not where it’s too hot.)

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Meanwhile, preheat oven to 425°F (218°C).

Once the dough has risen a lot again after 15 minutes (open the foil and check), put it in the oven WITH THE FOIL ON and bake for about 15 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for another 10 minutes.

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Serving Suggestions:

My favourite way of having this bread is dipping it in garlic flavoured extra virgin olive oil and a few sprinkles of coarsely ground black pepper. You can even try with other herb infused oil, such as rosemary olive oil.

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Rosemary Focaccia Bread
Serves: 4
 

Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs (sage, oregano, thyme, rosemary)
  • 1 cup bread flour (I used Better for Bread)
  • 1½ cup whole wheat pastry flour (and 1 tablespoon for kneading)
  • ¼ cup semolina flour
  • 2 tablespoons extra light olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon Himalayan/sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ⅔ cup warm water
  • ⅓ cup white grape juice (when mixed with warm water, should become lukewarm)
  • 1 tablespoon dry active yeast
  • 2 cloves garlic
Topping
  • 1 tablespoon semolina flour
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1 clove garlic
  • Cooking spray (olive oil)
  • A few sprinkles Himalayan/sea salt
  • Dip: Garlic flavoured extra virgin olive oil & freshly ground pepper

Instructions
  1. Get all the fresh herbs (I used 1-2 sprigs of sage, oregano and rosemary) and chop them in small pieces. As for the rosemary, remove the leaves from the stem.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the bread flour, whole wheat pastry flour, semolina flour, olive oil, salt and garlic powder. Set that aside for now. Also, add in the herbs you chopped from earlier.
  3. In a small bowl, mix together ⅓ cup white grape juice and ⅔ cups warm water to make the liquid lukewarm. Add the tablespoon of yeast and stir until everything dissolves. You should see that there are some little bubbles on top.
  4. Mix the yeast liquid with the flour and stir. Start kneading it so that it forms a big lump. Once it becomes a block of dough, add 1 tablespoon of whole wheat pastry flour either on a flat wooden board or in the bowl itself, and knead on full force for about 3-5 minutes until the dough becomes smooth, silky and non-sticky. Add a lid, damp town or foil to cover the dough.
  5. Turn on the oven to the lowest setting for about 5 minutes, then turn it off and open the door of the oven. Keep the dough sitting at the door or inside the oven (if it’s not too warm) and allow it to rise for a couple of hours. It’s important that the oven is not turned on when you leave it in there.
  6. Chop up two cloves of garlic finely.
  7. Once the dough has risen about double its size, punch it down, add in the garlic cloves and knead it again until it becomes silky and non-sticky. You may have to add a teaspoon of whole wheat pastry flour so the dough doesn’t stick to your hands.
  8. Stretch the dough out on a greased square pan or half of a 9×13 inch pan. Shape it into a rectangle/square. Sprinkle the one tablespoon of semolina flour on top, and dust it across the entire surface with your hands. Peel and chop the clove of garlic into very small pieces, take the rosemary leaves off the stems, and sprinkle both the rosemary leaves and garlic bits across the surface of the bread. Press parts of the dough down that has a garlic clove/rosemary leaves to create little dimples.
  9. Give the bread surface a few generous sprays with non-stick cooking oil (I used olive oil) until everything on top is covered in olive oil. Finally, sprinkle some salt all over the surface and put aluminum foil to cover the bread up (don’t cover it too tightly because the bread will rise). Leave it in a warm place to rise for another 15 minutes. (I put mine on top of the oven while it was on, but not where it’s too hot.)
  10. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 425°F (218°C).
  11. Once the dough has risen a lot again after 15 minutes (open the foil and check), put it in the oven WITH THE FOIL ON and bake for about 15 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for another 10 minutes.

 

2 comments

  1. Liz

    Your post and this recipe have both inspired me to give bread making another try. I, like you, have a long history of turning out flat, dense, heavy breads (no matter HOW long I knead them) and have been completely turned off from attempting any yeasted bread for over a year and a half. Your focaccia looks SO good, though, how can I resist it? :)

    • Susanna

      That is so exciting!!! I totally understand the frustration with breads. In the past, I’ve made the mistake of using water that was too hot or cold.
      From my learning, I find that the bread rises best in a really warm place, and also the amount of sweet liquid you put is important, as yeast feeds on sugar, so the grape juice really made it rise a lot. Also, I find that having a bit of bread flour in there really makes it soft, and lastly baking it with the tin foil over it stops it from hardening too much, I find :D GOOD LUCK !! I really hope this works out for you :D :D

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