Homemade rosemary focaccia was a feature of our lunch last week and we're obliging requests for the recipe. We confess, however, that this is our mother's recipe and yes, she made our lunch during our visit last week. Hurray for moms who cook!
This recipe is a dead-easy yeast bread in the manner of the Italian flatbread focaccias often baked in wood ovens, similar to the French fougasse (which, oddly enough, we had as an appetizer at a French restaurant last night). This one is a snap even if you're new to working with yeast, needs almost no rising time, and is very hard to mess up. Try it and see!
This also multiplies very well - our large family, growing up, could go through a couple batches in a single meal.
2 9-inch flat loaves
1 cup warm water (at about 115-120ºF)
1 tablespooon sugar
1 tablespoon dry yeast
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, divided
2 tablespoons of finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
2 tablespoons of finely chopped fresh sage leaves
1/2 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Extra finely chopped rosemary, to taste
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
Mix the warm water, sugar and yeast and let the yeast bubble for a moment of two. Whisk in the salt, olive oil, and 1 1/2 cups of the flour. Add the rest of the flour and the herbs and pepper and mix with a spoon.
Turn out on the counter with a little extra flour and knead by hand (or keep in the bowl and beat with the dough hook on the KitchenAid mixer) until smooth and elastic - at least 5-8 minutes. Divide dough in half and let rest for a few minutes.
Heat the oven to 400ºF. Prepare two 9-inch plates by oiling with olive oil. Pat each dough half into the prepared plate, easing the dough out to the sides. Let rest for a few more minutes and then dot with fork tines all over. Brush each with the olive oil for the topping. Mix the rosemary, salt and Parmesan and sprinkle over each pan.
Let rise 10-15 minutes (depending on how quickly you need to get this and the rest of dinner on the table. She's tried just baking it almost immediately after adding the topping, and everyone seems happy with this.)
Bake 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Cut in wedges. Great for dipping and for sandwiches too.