Sunday, November 20, 2011

The best thing since Sliced Bread.... fresh homemade Garlicky Rosemary Focaccia

I'm NEVER buying store made bread again. Well not never but definitely not if I can avoid it. Baking your own bread is so ridiculously easy that it hurts me to think why I don't do it more often. The possibilities are endless and list of ingredients kneaded (haa!) extremely simple! All you need is a little planning and a little more patience for the dough to do it's magic before you enjoy the fruits of your labor. And come on, who does not love the aroma of freshly baked bread wafting through their apartment!?

5 cups of Flour
1 packet Instant  Yeast
2 tsp Salt
2 Cups of room temperature water
6 tbsp Olive Oil
1/2 tbsp minced Rosemary
1/2 tbsp minced Garlic

For crying out loud, please DO NOT use dried herbs or store bought bottled Garlic paste. This recipe requires very few ingredients, most of which a lot of us already have on hand, so make those few ingredients count!

Sift the Flour, Yeast and Salt together in a large mixing bowl [If you have a stand mixer, feel free to use that, but you don't need to be a show off! This bread kneads very little needing (see what I did there!), so feel free to use your hands!]
Now add the water and Olive Oil and bring the dough together by kneading for about 7-8 minutes. The dough will be sticky so use some extra Flour on your hands.
Now transfer the dough onto your kitchen counter (first sprinkle a generous dose of Flour!) and knead until the flour is fully incorporated, the dough will be elastic but not sticking to your fingers anymore.
Spread out the dough into a rectangle shape, large that the size of your original dough ball, brush it will Olive Oil and cover with saran wrap. Let it rest for 30 minutes.

Once rested for 30 minutes, fold the dough over itself, like folder a piece of paper. Stretch it out into the rectangle again.
Spread the mixture of minced Rosemary and Garlic and once again cover with saran warp and let it rest for 30 minutes (I know!! by this time I was ready to tear a piece of raw dough and eat it! But patience reaps delicious rewards my friends!)

Repeat the above process of folding and stretching the dough once last time! This will help incorporate the rosemary and garlic into the dough (yum!!). Cover and let it rest for 1 hour.

While the dough rests, prepare your baking tray. You will need:

  • A standard baking tray
  • Foil
  • 1 large sprig of Rosemary
  • 4 cloves of Garlic (sliced in half)
  • 1/4 cup of Olive Oil
  • Sea Salt to taste
Cover the baking tray with foil and prepare the herb oil. Heat the Olive Oil in a skillet, but you don't want it screaming hot because you don't want to fry anything. Bring to a low/medium heat and add the Rosemary and Garlic. Turn off the heat and let the herbs poach in the oil.
Now spread this oil, herbs and all over the baking tray lined with foil.
Transfer the resting dough to the tray and as a final step, using your fingers, make dimples in the dough and spread a liberal amount of olive oil over the surface of the bread. Don't get stressed by the amount of Olive Oil you are using, it's healthy (sort of..) and makes the bread so delicious!

Cover the tray with saran warp again and now transfer to the fridge to let it rest overnight. have to wait just a little more to enjoy this deliciousness!

Next day, sprinkle sea salt over the dough and throw it in a preheated 350 degree oven and bake for 20 minutes or until golden delicious!

Serve with Basil Oil and Balsamic or just shove pieces of heaven into your mouth and thank me for sharing this awesomeness with you!

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