Rosemary and Roasted Garlic Focaccia Bread

Usually I’m not much of a baker, but lately I’ve been really trying to experiment and get active with my oven!  I wish I could learn to be a fantastic baker, but usually baked goods are just so bad for you so I tend to try and avoid them.  However, earlier today I was flipping through my old recipes and thought to myself that I’d really like to bake a good loaf of bread to have around the house for the next few days.  That’s what lead to this Rosemary and Roasted Garlic Focaccia Bread.  This bread would be great to serve alongside a soup or pasta dish, and it’s not too hard to make!

I had the day off today for Veteran’s Day or else this bread would have never have happened.  It’s not something you feel like making when you get home from work, even though it only takes about an hour.  I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do with it, but I thought I could cut it in half and make some tasty sandwiches with it.  What I really should have done is made a yummy vegetable soup with it, but about halfway through I wanted something easy so instead I just whipped up a side of Tomato and Cucumber Couscous Salad (get the recipe here).

I used whole wheat flour in this recipe, although honestly I would stick with white flour.  Since it’s such a thick bread I thought the whole wheat flavor was a little overpowering to the other flavors, but other than that the recipe turned out fine!  When we were shopping Matt told me he only would eat it if it was whole wheat so fineeeeeee.  I also had a mini anxiety attack baking this bread because it’s frickin frustrating to bake in a NYC apartment!  Literally no counter space for all the components, and my crappy oven turned off halfway through the bread baking and I didn’t realize it for 15 minutes.

But regardless, the bread was really tasty.  And this recipe makes a wholeeee lot, so if it’s just you and a couple people I’d recommend cutting the recipe in half.  Now get to it!

Rosemary and Roasted Garlic Focaccia Bread

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Ingredients:

  • 2 packets yeast
  • 1 quart milk (I used 2%)
  • 3 tsp salt
  • 2 1/2 lbs all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup parmesan reggiano
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup cornmeal
  • 4 or 5 sprigs of rosemary, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Warm the milk slightly and add the yeast, stir well.  Let the yeast sit in the warm milk until you start seeing bubbles.  If you’re having trouble with the yeast bubbling, add a pinch of sugar.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, salt, parmesan, and 2 teaspoons chopped rosemary.  Scoop a hole in the middle of the flour and pour the milk and yeast in, scraping the outsides of the flour inwards as you go along.  Kneed the flour and milk together until it’s smooth and very stretchy.  The dough will be sticky; you do not need to add more flour.

Brush a sheet baking pan with a little bit of olive oil and sprinkle the cornmeal on it.  Flatten out the dough on the pan evenly and brush with a little more olive oil.  Let this rise for 20 minutes.

In the meantime, I roasted 3 or 4 cloves of garlic for 7 minutes in the preheated oven, until just turning brown.  Chop the garlic and add with the rest of the rosemary to the remaining olive oil.

When the dough has risen, brush on the olive oil with the garlic and rosemary.  Put in the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown.  When finished, cut into squares and enjoy with soup or pasta, and maybe some additional olive oil!

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