Classic Focaccia Bread

Nothing makes me feel so accomplished as making my own bread. If I can do bread, I can do anything! World peace, calculus, space engineering…It just takes a little more time, but warm bread out of the oven is so very satisfying.

  • 2 1/2 cups AP flour
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for drizzling and coating
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 TBS sugar
  • 1 cup hot tap water
  • 1 heaping tsp dry active yeast
  • 2 TBS chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 TBS coarse sea salt

Sprinkle the sugar in a small mixing bowl. Add the hot tap water and sprinkle the yeast over the top. Let it activate for about 5 minutes. Set aside.

In the meantime, fit your mixer with the dough hook attachment and add in the flour and salt and stir a few times to mix it up. Add in 1/4 cup olive oil and stir. After the yeast mixture is frothy (if it’s not, you’ve got yeast that is past it’s prime and it’s time to discard it) add it in to the flour/salt/olive oil mixture and mix it on medium-high speed until it forms a ball. After it forms a ball, turn the speed down to medium low and let it knead for about 5 minutes. The dough should be fairly sticky!

After the dough has kneaded, coat your hands in olive oil and remove the dough. Coat the bottom and sides of the mixing bowl in olive oil (so the dough won’t stick to it as it rises), transfer the dough back in, and swirl it around in the oil so it’s coated all over. Cover it with a tea towel and set it in a warm place to rise for two hours or until it’s doubled in size.

After your dough has risen, move it to a 9×9 or 10×12 baking dish and coat it with another 1/4 cup of olive oil. Press it around evenly in the dish and dimple the top all over with your fingertips. Take a little bit more olive oil and drizzle that over the top and sprinkle over the sea salt and rosemary.

Bake at 425 for 20-25 minutes or until the bread is just starting to pull away from the sides of the pan and it’s just starting to brown on the top.

Variations: Instead of rosemary and sea salt, press in some halved cherry tomatoes, halved olives, pistachios, grapes, whatever your heart tells you!

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