Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Rosemary and Roasted Garlic Focaccia

Focaccia is an Italian bread that has entered the mainstream, big time. From gourmet focaccia at local bakeries to thick slices of focaccia in restaurant bread baskets, its popularity seems to be growing. And why not? Focaccia is almost always delicious no matter what topping you sprinkle on top of it. Whether it's chewy, crispy, salty, or sweet, focaccia is one of those comforting snacks that is hard to stop eating once you start. A gourmet restaurant at my university even makes salty focaccia with a cinnamon-syrup topping that is seriously addictive.

The best part about focaccia, for me anyway, is that in addition to being tasty, it's incredibly easy to make and requires just a few simple ingredients that you probably have on hand anyway. Mix them together in a stand mixer, let the dough rest for awhile, and just roll it out slightly into an oval shape and bake it. So simple. The rosemary-garlic smell (or cinammon, if you're so inclined) that permeates through your home as the bread is baking is reason enough to make focaccia.

After experimenting with a few recipes, my current favourite is Tyler Florence's version. I forgo his suggested topping and stick to the classic rosemary and coarse salt combination, with a twist. I roast a head of garlic in the oven and add that to the dough before letting it rise. The garlic flavour is surprisingly mellow and pairs wonderfully with the rosemary and salt.

Rosemary and Roasted Garlic Focaccia
Adapted from a recipe by Tyler Florence

2 teaspoons rapid-rising dry yeast
1 cup warm water
2 tablespoons sugar
3 1/2 to 4 cups flour
1 tablespoon coarse salt
1/4 cup olive oil
Cornmeal, for dusting
Roasted garlic cloves, from 1 head roasted garlic (instructions can be found here via wikihow)

Dried or fresh rosemary
Coarse or kosher salt

In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the yeast with warm water and sugar. Stir gently to dissolve. Let stand 3 minutes until foam appears. Turn mixer on low and slowly add the flour to the bowl. Dissolve salt in 2 tablespoons of water and add it to the mixture. Pour in 1/4 cup olive oil. When the dough starts to come together, increase the speed to medium. Add roasted garlic cloves (after squeezing or scooping the cloves out of their skin). Stop the machine periodically to scrape the dough off the hook. Mix until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes, adding flour as necessary.

Turn the dough out onto a work surface and fold over itself a few times. Form the dough into a round and place in an oiled bowl, turn to coat the entire ball with oil so it doesn't form a skin. Cover with plastic wrap or damp towel and let rise over a gas pilot light on the stovetop or other warm place until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.

Coat a sheet pan with a little olive oil and corn meal. Once the dough is doubled and domed, turn it out onto the counter. Roll and stretch the dough out to an oval shape about 1/2-inch thick. Lay the flattened dough on the pan and cover with plastic wrap. Let rest for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400F. Uncover the dough and dimple with your fingertips. Brush the surface with more olive oil and then sprinkle rosemary and coarse salt on top. Bake on the bottom rack of oven for 15 to 20 minutes.


vibi May 6, 2009 at 10:06:00 AM EDT  

Sfff... Sfff... Ummmm AHhhhhh! I can almost smell those wonderful aromas through my screen!

I can't bake bread for the life of me, but I've never made focaccia, so perhaps it is the time to test and see if I'm any good at it!!!

Anonymous May 6, 2009 at 1:04:00 PM EDT  

Your focaccia looks perfect. Rosemary and roasted garlic sound wonderful.

Alisa@Foodista May 6, 2009 at 1:17:00 PM EDT  

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Claudia May 6, 2009 at 9:49:00 PM EDT  

Oh - I adore focaccia and rosemary/olive oil is my favorite. This looks very do-able. It wont't help me lose weight....but mmmmm - too good to pass up.

matty May 6, 2009 at 10:52:00 PM EDT  

I might even make this!

Kaitlin May 6, 2009 at 10:56:00 PM EDT  

I should also mention that if you want a stronger garlic flavour, you should go right ahead and use two heads of roasted garlic.

@matty: You can use my stand mixer. Actually, you could make this by hand, but I'm just not that into hand-kneading stuff.

Jason Wong May 6, 2009 at 11:19:00 PM EDT  


I am currently using Oplympus E-510 for my shots. I guess that is one of the reasons for the better indoor shots. Another thing was it took me 1 whole year to learn and I am still learning.

Other than the DSLR, I some times also use Olympus F330, a point and shoot digital camera, for documenting dishes that I ate while going about the daily work routine. But that does not give good shots when the lighting are not so friendly. It is good for outdoor and day light shoots.

If you ever come to Malaysai or Penang, do let me know so that I can show you around and look for 'makan'(food).

Steph May 7, 2009 at 6:02:00 PM EDT  

I love focaccia! I don't have time to bake for exams, I just cut out studying..haha

Steph May 7, 2009 at 6:02:00 PM EDT  

I love focaccia! I don't have time to bake for exams, I just cut out studying..haha

TeaLady May 8, 2009 at 7:51:00 PM EDT  

I have been wanting to try focaccia and this recipe looks just right.

And I am with Vibi I can smell it too (cause we have great imaginations!!!)

Tonya @ What's On My Plate May 10, 2009 at 7:15:00 PM EDT  

Looks and sounds delicious!

The Bahens May 11, 2009 at 4:56:00 PM EDT  

I just bookmarked your recipe! It sounds so delicious!

Scattered Mom May 17, 2009 at 11:25:00 PM EDT  

Mmmm I'm going to make this soon! Sounds yummers!

Anonymous September 26, 2009 at 3:12:00 PM EDT  

I have made plain focaccia topped with just olive oil and rosemary - ambrosia! But I have also recently discovered a store-bought roasted garlic focaccia that I love. You never know exactly what is in chain store-made food, so I looked up and found your recipe. Guess what my next baking day will bring!! Many thanks, Judy

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