Rosemary & Sea Salt Focaccia

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Homemade focaccia was one of the first recipes I ever posted, and I'm reposting the recipe with a few new photos because it's a delicious one to bring back to life. And because kneading and making your own bread is therapeutic in the same way gardening is. How great is it to get your hands dirty in the soil, plant seeds and watch them grow into something you can walk outside, pick, and eat!? The rosemary in this focaccia came from our backyard that Cam planted this summer and the tomatoes from our neighbor's garden. Making bread takes longer than buying it at the store or bakery, but like most things that take a little extra work and time, it's worth it.

My sweet girl kept me company while I kneaded and we enjoyed every second of the unseasonably beautiful weather. This was the same night I made Crispy Mozzarella Salad with Lemon Garlic Vinaigrette. It was perfect together!

One thing about kneading.. There is no "exact" way to do it. The couple of times I have made bread or dough with others, it's always done differently. So if you've never made dough from scratch before, don't let that intimidate you! There's a lot of videos online you can watch but I think the main thing you want to go for is to use the heel of your palm to work the yeast into all of the dough, and as my Mika says, "work, work, keep working the dough," until it is a nice, smooth consistency. It may take some trial and error like it did (and still does sometimes!) for me, but stick with it and soon enough you'll have fresh bread baking in the oven.

I love watching Cam's face when he walks in the house and smells that amazing aroma. I wish I made my own bread more often. If you make yours, please share your tips with the rest of us!

Simple Rosemary & Sea Salt Focaccia with Tomatoes on the Vine
(my original post and recipe)

1/4 oz active dry yeast
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
extra virgin olive oil
cherry tomatoes on the vine
2 C flour
course sea salt
raw sugar

Dissolve the yeast (1/4 oz envelope) & a handful of sugar in 1/2 cup of warm water. The sugar will help the yeast to rise. Let stand until it becomes creamy about 5-10 minutes.

Stir the yeast mixture into a large bowl of 2 cups all-purpose flour mixed with a generous handful of sea salt, 1/2 C of raw sugar and separated fresh rosemary leaves. The sugar is optional, but I think it adds extra flavor. Mix altogether with a fork until all of the flour is fully absorbed. You may need to add a dash of warm water if there is any flour left to absorb. Knead it on a lightly floured surface for a few minutes until it becomes a smooth, elastic ball. It helps to have your hands clean and slightly damp to keep the dough from sticking.

Once the dough is smooth, lightly cover the bowl in olive oil and place the ball of dough in it, coating it well in the olive oil. Cover the bowl with a warm, damp cloth and let the dough rise for about 30 minutes. It should double in size.

With a rolling pin or your hands, form the dough to a baking sheet that has been drizzled in olive oil (no, you can never use enough olive oil, or haha -- atleast that's how I cook!) as thin or thick as you like. Using your knuckle or thumb, create indentations 1/2 inch apart on top of the dough. Drizzle a good amount of olive oil on top and use your fingers to spread it over the entire top of the dough. Sprinkle on course sea salt and push the tomatoes into the dough with the vine on. Bake at 500 degrees for 10-15 minutes, depending on your oven. Watch it carefully so it doesn't over bake or burn. The olive oil and salt will collect in the indentations and add a burst of flavor.

Once out of the oven, drizzle on a little more olive oil (!) and serve piping hot... ideally with salad, roast chicken, pesto, wine & cheese...

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