Rosemary Focaccia

Rosemary Focaccia

January 1, 2015

I have a funny idiosyncratic tick whenever I buy bread at the boulangerie; the bread never makes it home in one piece. I simply can’t wait to tear into the loaf, so I invariably rip off the heel while I’m in the car, or just as I leave the shop. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a sandwich loaf, a baguette, an olive and nut bread, raisin bread or a bag of warm bagels (here the bagel shops are open 24/7)–there is always a piece missing when it walks through my front door. My husband complains about it, but secretly I think he muses over it.

So when the Rosemary Focaccia went in the oven, the anticipation was intense. And when aroma began to waft through the house, our hearts started to race. When it was cool enough to remove from the pan, I panicked because I could feel that the focaccia had limited time before it was eaten into oblivion. I slapped back Rick’s hands saying: We have to take a picture! We have to get the shot! Get the camera! Truth is that neither of us were in a picture taking mood, but we suffered through it, and quite frankly, you’re all lucky to get this picture.

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Instructions

Special Equipment

MIXING THE DOUGH

  • My goodness, what a soupy, pasty mess this mixture was at the beginning! It hardly looked like it would turn into anything eatable. I remembered Rose’s FB post about this step taking as much as 30 minutes for the dough to come together. So I’m watching the paddle turn around in the soup, then I’d leave it for something else.
This bread dough looks more like cake batter.
This bread dough looks more like cake batter.
  • When I came back, the paddle left very definite streaks in the soup. Then several minutes later, the mixer bowl started to rattle, and I knew something had changed. Voila, after about 20 minutes, there it was! A dough ball.
Cake batter turned to bread dough. Sorry for the blurry image, but I was too lazy to get the flash.
Cake batter turned to bread dough. Sorry for the blurry image, but I was too lazy to get the flash.
  • I then turned the speed up to 4, and let her turn for 20 more minutes, after which the dough turned to stringy cheese. Quite literally, it was impossible to remove the stuff from the paddle. I found it rather comical, as it was smooth, shiny and cheesy. It’s a thing of beauty…sort of?
Notice the stringy, soupy nature of this bread “batter.” Hard to believe it would ever take form.
Notice the stringy, soupy nature of this bread “batter.” Hard to believe it would ever take form.

LET THE FOCACCIA DOUGH RISE

  • I poured the dough into the rising container and marked where double was with a piece of masking tape.
Before the first rise.
Before the first rise.
  • Then I set it into my oven at 77 degrees. After about 3.5 hours it has risen to just past double.
Bubbly delicious.
Bubbly delicious.
I just liked this shot.
I just liked this shot.

SHAPE THE FOCACCIA DOUGH AND LET IT RISE AGAIN

  • After drizzling the pan with olive oil.
Preparing the tray.
Preparing the tray.
  • I poured the dough onto the sheet. It was the strangest stuff, I have to say. The feel of the dough gave me the willies. It was so, so tender. Since it was at body temperature, it offered almost no tactile sensation, just sticky and gummy. I had a little trouble relating to this molten blob of living stuff.
I was happy this part was finished.
I was happy this part was finished.
  • I turned over a tray of the same size and covered the dough, and let it sit for another hour.
Unbaked rosemary focaccia.
Unbaked rosemary focaccia.
  • I sprinkled the soft rosemary needles and course sea salt on the unbaked dough. Then drizzled more olive oil and baked it. I couldn’t concentrate on anything while the bread was baking.

BAKING THE FOCACCIA

  • The smell of baking bread is intoxicating. Anyway, once I came to my senses, I removed it from the pan and…for the rest of the story, see the top of the post.
Rosemary Focaccia, The Finer Cookie.
Rosemary Focaccia, The Finer Cookie.

WHAT ARE THE ALPHA BAKERS? : Here’s how it works: once a month, for the next two years, 25 Alpha Bakers commit to baking their way through every recipe of Rose Levy Beranbaum’s The Bread Bible. Each month we post our experiences on our blog sites: our successes, our failures, our like and dislikes. The recipes are scheduled in advance so that everyone is baking the same recipe at the same time. No recipes can be shared in my Alpha Bakers Bread Bible posts due to publishing restrictions enforced by the publisher, but if you love to bake bread, this is a must-have book. You can see other tutorials for the same recipe at the following link The Bread Bible Alpha Bakers at http://breadbiblealphabakers.blogspot.ca/

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