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« Swedish Visiting Cake | Main | Hot Cocoa Cookies »

Rosemary Focaccia

Rosemary Focaccia

Growing up, my mother made a loaf of homemade bread in our bread maker every Sunday during the cold winter months. Sunday's lunch was often the most looked forward to meal of the week, as it was always prepared from scratch and with lots of love. Homemade soups and stews were the feature, but a loaf of homemade bread was never amiss. My family devoured the loaf of bread in one sitting, arguing over the final pieces.

Everyone, of course, but me.

Rosemary Focaccia Rosemary Focaccia

I was a picky eater. I was an indignant eater. I didn't like sandwiches. I didn't like bread. And I certainly didn't like crust. Occasionally I'd manage to eat half a piece of my mother's homespun bread, but I always opted for the saltines if they made an appearance. As it so happens, over the years my tastes evolved and I found myself wanting to eat more bread and less saltines. However, because I was an indignant eater (and terribly stubborn to boot), I couldn't let my mother know I actually liked her bread.

So, I begrudgingly ate my saltines and lifted my nose at the sight of the beautiful, crusty bread. I did this for years.

Stubbornness was (and still is) one of my many flaws.

Rosemary Focaccia Rosemary Focaccia

It wasn't until I moved out on my own that I began to eat bread with great fervor, savoring each piece as I wish I had in the previous years. When I moved to Montreal, my love for bread flourished. With a dozen bakeries in walking distance wafting the smell of yeast and crusty bread into the streets, a baguette or two found its way to my kitchen more than my waistline would have liked.

Baking my own bread has really allowed me to appreciate each loaf for its own unique taste and texture. This Rosemary Focaccia was my first foray into the realm of focaccia and, long after this bread has disappeared, I still find myself wishing for just another piece.

Oh, what I would give for just another piece...

Rosemary Focaccia

This Rosemary Focaccia is salty and chewy, with an unbelievable crust. The bread is made with fresh rosemary, coarse sea salt, cracked pepper, and olive oil. The bread's thick crust develops from baking in the oil, giving it an almost fried quality. It is perfect served plain, with no additions or spreads. This bread shines on its own. I've made this bread twice in the last couple weeks and, though it is fairly involved, I have a feeling it will make an appearance again very soon.

One Year Ago: Mexican Hot Cocoa Mix

Rosemary Focaccia

4 1/2 to 5 cups bread flour (all purpose will also work)
2 3/4 cups warm water (about 110 degrees—not hot to the touch)
2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 teaspoons coarse sea salt, plus extra for sprinkling
2 tablespoons fresh chopped rosemary, plus extra for sprinkling
1/3 cup and 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon freshly cracked pepper

In a large mixing bowl, mix together bread flour, water, and active dry yeast. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm, dry place for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until dough has tripled in volume and is bubbly.

If using a stand mixer, attach dough hook and mix in salt and rosemary. Knead dough for an additional 5-7 minutes. Dough will be loose and sticky.

If you do not have a stand mixer, turn dough out on a heavily floured surface and, using your hands or even a wooden spoon, attempt to knead the dough. Mix in salt and rosemary at this time. Add flour as needed and fold dough in half in all directions if it will not cooperate enough to knead. Dough will be very difficult to handle, but try to incorporate as little flour as possible (it results in a softer bread).

Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise for another hour, or until doubled in volume.

In a 13 by 17-inch rimmed baking pan, evenly distribute 2 tablespoons of olive oil to coat pan. Turn out down onto pan and, with oiled hands, pull dough to the edges of the pan. The dough may resist at first, but with a little patience it will stay put. Cover dough with a clean dish towel and allow to rise for an additional 15-20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C).

Using your fingertips, poke a couple dozen holes into the top of the bread. Pour remaining olive oil evenly over bread and sprinkle with a light dusting of coarse sea salt, rosemary, and freshly cracked pepper. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until golden brown. Let cool slightly in pan before serving warm or at room temperature.

On the second day, the crust may soften. To bring back the crispiness, I suggest reheating the bread in the oven at 400 degrees F (205 degrees C) for 5-8 minutes.

Reader Comments (30)

I love the look of your focaccia! I've really started to get into bread baking recently, and it's really a wonderful experience, and so rewarding.

By the way, stubbornness is one of my many flaws too :D
I adore foccacia!
I just got some fresh rosemary from a friend's rosemary plant so i want to try this. Do you think making the dough in the breadmaker on the dough cycle would work for this? I actually have never used my dough cycle before.
02.17.2012 | Unregistered Commenterdonna
This looks absolutely incredible - just the right texture and number of holes running through the crust and your photos are beautiful (as always). My Mum used to make bread when I was growing up and it was always a little too doughy, but we still devoured it because bread out the oven is so good. It sounds like you've really grown into bread - producing something delicious you couldn't not want to eat it all up!
02.17.2012 | Unregistered Commenterthelittleloaf
Jennifer-- I agree! It really is rewarding.

Donna-- You know, I don't know enough about bread maker's to know if this would work. The bread rises 3 times before heading into the oven and I'm just not sure the bread maker can account for this. When in doubt, I'd just make it by hand--it's simple, just time consuming.

The Little Loaf-- Thank you! I love bread no matter what form it's in. :)
02.17.2012 | Registered CommenterKristin Rosenau
Mmm love this idea!
Having been privileged to be a taste tester of this bread, I can attest firsthand that it is deliciously amazing! When a person sits at work and daydreams about eating this bread . . . you KNOW it has to be good!
02.17.2012 | Unregistered CommenterMama Rose
This looks sooo yummy. I try to stay away from breads, but I'm afraid this is a must to make. I know my hubby and son will be crazy once they try it. Thanks a milion for sharing your recipe.
02.17.2012 | Unregistered CommenterJaanL
I love focaccia, though I have to admit that I have never tried the home made one :)
02.18.2012 | Unregistered CommenterMedeja
You seem to be picky about the best things:(I mean, not loving bread is blasphemy. I love the crusts of bread especcially and I always save the ends of the sandwhich bread loaf at home so I can eat it as a snack :) Bread is lovely

I havn't had focaccia in aggggesss. But I think that should and will change :)
This looks fantastic... can't wait to try it! I did have one question though. I've re-read the recipe several times and unless I'm missing it, you don't say when to mix in the rosemary. I see where you sprinkle the additional on top, but when do you add the 2 tablespoons? I'm guessing when you add the salt?
02.18.2012 | Unregistered Commentersara
This bread sounds absolutely wonderful! On the to do list for next weekend :) Great photos too.
02.19.2012 | Unregistered CommenterMairi @ Toast
Sara-- Thanks for pointing that out! You were right that it is added with the salt. I've fixed the recipe above to reflect this. Thank you!
02.19.2012 | Registered CommenterKristin Rosenau
This looks amazingly delicious. This is my first visit to your blog, so I took some time to browse through your earlier posts. I'm so glad I did that. I really like the food and recipes you share with your readers and I'll definitely be back. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary
02.19.2012 | Unregistered CommenterMary
Just made your recipe - sooooo good! The rosemary. The salt. The crunchy olive oil-soaked crust. Mmm! Thank you so much for sharing. Really made my night!
02.19.2012 | Unregistered CommenterCindy
So happy to have discovered your blog. The photos are gorgeous and your writing voice is warm, competent, and engaging. Always a pleasure to find a blog like this one!
02.20.2012 | Unregistered CommenterErica
I love rosemary and I love focaccia. This sounds and looks great!

And what wonderful pictures. I really enjoy all the browns and dark colors in your pictures. :)
I just made this and it turned out amazing! Honestly, some of the best focaccia I've ever eaten. The only changes I made were to use Instant Yeast (same directions and it worked fine) and I used whole wheat bread flour because it's all I had on hand. So yummy! Thank you for the recipe :)
02.22.2012 | Unregistered CommenterDana
My focaccia is rising right now!!!!! Thanks for posting this recipe. So far it looks amazing!!!!!
03.9.2012 | Unregistered CommenterTamara
For the flour i used half bread flour, a quarter spelt, and a quarter WW and it turned out phenomenally! The crusty outside and the softness of the middle really compliment each other
05.5.2012 | Unregistered CommenterIlana
This bread is absolutely delicious. I made home made sauce and home made meatballs last night and I thought I would make your bread to go along with it. It was outstanding. I have three boys and they all devoured it. My husband said between the sauce, meatballs and now the bread there is no need for him to ever want to go to an Italian Restaurant again. Thanks for sharing.
08.1.2012 | Unregistered CommenterMichele
This has been on my list for quite some time. I got a stand mixer for Christmas, so I tried making the bread a few days ago. Oh my goodness. Absolutely perfect. Now I just need a day off from homework so I can make this again. Thanks for sharing! :)
01.24.2013 | Unregistered CommenterRachel
Beautiful, beautiful! Thanks as always Kristin! I love seeing these recipes resurface after a year.
02.17.2013 | Unregistered CommenterBecca
hi!, this looks amazing and i really wanna be able to make it successfully. i've tried the recipe twice and both times, the dough is extremely sticky and impossible for me to handle so i use the dough hook in my mixer. Also, when the focaccia is out of the oven and cools to room temperature, it becomes really hard... my sister even says it could be a deadly weapon :( i'm doing something wrong i know, could you please advise?

Thank you.
04.25.2013 | Unregistered Commenterscrigglecat
Scrigglecat-- If the dough is impossible to handle, I would add more flour. It makes it easier to work with and, if you coat your hands it in, much easier to manage. As for the hard crust, it will have a relatively hard crust once it cools. Focaccia is a very chewy bread. If you heat it up, the crust will soften a bit. Also, you may be overbaking it if the crust is exceptionally hard (aka, not edible). Perhaps your oven is running hot or you need to pull it out of the oven 5-10 minutes earlier. Just a few thoughts! It is hard to troubleshoot when I'm not in the kitchen with you.
04.25.2013 | Registered CommenterKristin Rosenau
Thank you kirstin, am eager to try again... will let u know how it goes... and what it was if I figure out...
04.27.2013 | Unregistered Commenterscrigglecat
I'm inexperienced baking with yeast. Do I mix flour, water and dry yeast together ALL AT ONCE, or do I dissolve the dry yeast first in SOME or ALL of the water and then add the flour (and rest of the water)?
I'd love to try this recipe, but I'm reluctant to have all that flour go to waste if I follow the wrong procedure.
Thank you for advice.
05.16.2013 | Unregistered CommenterSabine
I made your recipe yesterday ... it turned out PERFECT ! I wasn't too sure when I saw how wet and sticky the dough was BUT once I "poured" it into the pan ... magic happened ! Then when I baked it ... EUREKA !! Thank you, so much, for sharing this wonderful recipe ! This has, certainly, made me into a more confident bread maker ... Marie
12.8.2013 | Unregistered CommenterMarie
look's so good and great, fresh and tasty, an excellent apetising recipe ;)
02.21.2014 | Unregistered CommenterAurica
Any idea what type of changes to the recipe would be needed for high altitude? I live in Denver, CO, at 5,280 feet. Thanks!
04.3.2014 | Unregistered CommenterEvan

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