Rosemary Focaccia Bread

Inspiration is defined as the following:

  1. an inspiring or animating action or influence
  2. something inspired, as an idea
  3. a result of inspired activity
  4. a thing or person that inspires 

It can come from anywhere, anytime….

I recently watched a video of Gordon Ramsay make focaccia bread. He did it by hand, which is also how I prefer to make bread. To become adept at bread making, you need to learn… and know – by feel – exactly what’s going on with the dough.

Light as a feather: Rosemary Focaccia Bread/focaccia al rosmarino

Taking his theory of adding semolina, and adding a bit of mine, I also included some rye flour – an excellent flavour enhancer for bread and something that pleases my Eastern European roots.

If you’ve never made bread, you’ll probably be surprised… at how remarkably easy this is. For what you invest in ingredients and the small effort of mixing & shaping of the dough – the rewards are exponentially multiplied. The majority of the time is spent waiting so you can be doing other things.

*Bread making tip: to remove sticky dough bits from your fingers/hands, sprinkle on some flour and rub them together.  (Instead of sticking them under the running tap to make glue…)

Rosemary Focaccia Bread

Time this to have it ready for dinner. When your family smells this in the oven…. you won’t even have to call them. They’ll come running!! This will stale quickly, so tightly wrap and freeze any you won’t eat the same day; you can reheat it in the oven for 20 minutes. Or turn any leftover into the next day’s lunch: stuff with your fave meats/veg & cheese – for an ooey, gooey grilled panino! Buon appetito~

1/4 cup warm water & 1/2 cup warm water
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp yeast
2 cups unbleached bread flour (or unbleached all purpose flour)
1/4 cup fine semolina
2 tsp rye flour – omit if you can’t get it (is not as necessary as the semolina)
1 tsp Kosher salt, plus some for topping
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus some for the baking pan & for drizzling on top
2 – 3 stalks rosemary, stripped from stems
few gratings of fresh ground black pepper, for topping

Dissolve the sugar in the 1/4 cup warm water, then sprinkle over the yeast and let sit 10 minutes. It should bubble & foam up, proving it’s ready. (If this doesn’t happen, you need to buy new yeast!)
In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine using three fingers cupped as a sort of whisk, the flours & salt – you’ll use this same motion when you mix in the wet ingredients.
When the yeast is proofed, make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and add the yeast mixture, olive oil, and 1/2 cup water – you may need more – which will be easy to see & feel when you’re mixing.
Again, using your fingers, start combining the wet into the dry – adding sprinkles of more water if needed. (If you get it too wet – sprinkle in some more flour…)
Once the dough has started to come together, scrape it out to a lightly floured counter and knead for approx 5 minutes – until round, smooth and somewhat springy.
Put a little olive oil in your mixing bowl (no need to clean first) then add the dough: first, bottom side up to coat with oil, then turn over the dough so it’s seam side down, and ready for the next rise. Cover until doubled in bulk, approx 1 hour.
Once the dough has risen, gently flatten to knock back the air, and using your hands, spread it out on an olive oil lined baking sheet. Using your knuckle, dimple the dough all over – it will create the characteristic tiny little pockets.
Cover and let rise the 2nd time, for approx 1 hour, or until doubled.
Preheat your oven to 400º
Uncover the bread and drizzle with olive oil, top with the stemmed rosemary, a sprinkling of Kosher salt and the pepper.
Bake for approx 20 minutes, until golden, then cool on a wire rack.