Tomato & rosemary focaccia

This is the bread I made on Monday, in addition to the flatbread with onion & rosemary. The recipes are fairly similar–I wanted to use up the rosemary I’d bought–but have pretty distinct tastes. If I had to choose between them, I’d say I prefer the flatbread with onion & rosemary.

This recipe also comes from “Making Fresh Bread,” published by Parragon Books, 2008. As I said in my last post, it’s a good book with beautiful pictures, but sometimes the recipe instructions lack important information, like how to shape the dough and how thick to make it before baking, and I had to guess based on the photos. I’ve tried to make my instructions more explicit.

Ingredients

  • 4 1/2 cups white bread flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons (1 packet) active dry yeast
  • 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, plus extra sprigs to garnish
  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for brushing
  • 1 1/4 cups lukewarm water (*I actually used 1 1/2 cups of water)
  • 6 oven-dried or sun-blush tomato halves (I used 10 or so sundried tomatoes, which I cut into smaller pieces)
  • 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt

Directions

1) Sift the flour into a bowl. Stir in the yeast and rosemary. Make a well in the center, pour in 4 tablespoons of the oil and quickly mix in with a spoon. Gradually stir in the water. Form the dough into a ball, which should be fairly wet–don’t add more flour.

2) Put flour on the counter, so the dough doesn’t stick. Knead the dough for 2 minutes.

3) Brush a bowl with oil. Form the dough into a ball and put it in the bowl with a damp dish towel on top. Allow the dough to rise for two hours, until doubled in volume.

4) Place the dough back on the floured counter and knead for 1 minute. Using a rolling pin, form the dough into a rectangle, approximately 1/2″ thick. Brush a cookie sheet with oil and place the dough on it, covering it with a damp dish towel. Allow the dough to rise for 1 hour.

5) In 1 hour, you will want the oven to be preheated to 475 degrees F. While waiting for the dough to rise, cut the tomatoes in half, or to the size you want them.

6) When the 1 hour is up, you may need to further roll out the dough–mine filled a 17″ cookie sheet.

7) Mix 1 tablespoon of oil with a few tablespoons of water. Dip two fingers into the oil/water mixture and press into the dough, making dimples all over the loaf. Sprinkle sea salt over the loaf, press the tomatoes into some of the dimples, then drizzle 1-2 tablespoons of oil over the loaf. Garnish the loaf with rosemary sprigs.

8) Reduce the oven temperature to 425 degrees F and bake the focaccia for 20 minutes, until golden brown.

9) Put on a cooling wrack, serve warm!

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