I love bread. Really, I do not discriminate against bread of any kind. So ever since I started to love to cook, I've wanted to learn to make my own bread. I was absolutely terrified to try and use yeast. Everyone told me it was so easy and I just couldn't believe them. But then one day I decided to try it. And they were right! I was so excited to learn with this focaccia bread recipe.
Baking bread is kind of empowering, especially when you've told yourself for years that it would be too difficult to do. It is so cool to watch bread rise for an hour, to force yourself to slow down and enjoy the process. Not to mention your entire house will smell like olive oil and rosemary. Win, win.
I'll admit, the prep process took longer than I had planned. Maybe because I'm use to our world of instant bread. But it is so worth the labor of love that it requires. Next time I will make this the day?before I need it for lunch.
Part of the reason I decided to tackle this recipe on the particular day that I did was that I was really wanting a very specific kind of sandwich. This specific sandwich basically begged me to make homemade bread for it. So I obliged.
Focaccia Bread Recipe
- 1 ¾ cups warm water
- 1 package 2 ¼ teaspoons instant yeast
- 5 sprigs fresh rosemary leaves chopped and divided
- 1 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 5 ¼ cups all-purpose flour plus more for kneading
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt plus coarse sea salt for sprinkling
- 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil divided
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the water, yeast, 2 teaspoons of the chopped rosemary, sugar, and half the flour. Stir to combine. Fit the mixer with the dough hook and on low speed add in the remaining flour, salt, and ½ cup olive oil. Once the dough comes together, increase the speed to medium and knead for 5 to 6 minutes, or until smooth and soft. If the dough is really sticky, add in another tablespoon or two of flour.
- Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, at least 1 hour. Make ahead: place the dough in a large plastic bag, or divide in half and place in two plastic bags, and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 1 month. If frozen, thaw overnight in the fridge or for a few hours at room temperature. Proceed with the recipe.
- Coat a jelly roll pan with the remaining ½ cup olive oil. Put the dough onto the jelly roll pan (you can divide the dough in half and bake in 2 smaller 9 by 13-inch pans) and begin pressing it out with your fingertips to fit the size of the pan. Coax and stretch the dough to fit the entire pan, or just about. Spread your fingers to make little holes all the way through the dough.
- Cover the dough with plastic and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425?F.
- Brush the focaccia with the olive oil on the pan and sprinkle liberally with coarse sea salt and the remaining rosemary leaves. Bake until golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly before cutting and serving.
Even if you don't need homemade focaccia for a sandwich, you can use this as an appetizer, side for dinner or a snack dipped in olive oil! It's a great amount that will last a family of two a while or will serve a larger family with dinner.
If you've been scared to try making bread at home, don't be. What everyone says is true, it's easy and so worth it! Try it, I really think you'll be surprised! Just be sure to allot two hours for it to rise.