Eat From the Garden: Rosemary Focaccia Bread

There is nothing better than the smell of fresh bread baking in the oven, especially when it is made with fresh rosemary! Focaccia bread has been a long time favorite of my family. The perfect combination of soft and savory, Rosemary Focaccia is the perfect pairing for almost any meal. While the aroma and appearance are full of rustic charm, its the simplicity of the ingredients and the ease of baking that make this focaccia recipe a winner for all cooks! 

A FAMILY RECIPE

Upon retirement, my grandfather settled in a quaint community near Plainview, AR. Nestled in the forested hills of Yell County on Lake Nimrod, Plainview is prime for crappie fishing and turkey hunting, beloved hobbies of my late grandfather. In the small community lived a couple, Sam and Ann. They owned a small restaurant called Sam & Ann's that drew in people from miles away to get a taste of their cooking. They were known for their cinnamon rolls (another family favorite) and fried pies, although everything they cooked was delicious! 

Originally from New York, Sam and Ann traveled for years on the carnival circuit where Sam would sew names onto hats. In those days, people would buy a brightly colored fedora adorned with a  two-three foot feather extending out of the back, and Sam would be the one to personalize it for them. It was an envied accessory for the times! When they grew tired of the traveling, Sam and Ann settled in the small Arkansas lake town. 

Growing up, after my grandfather had passed, my family and I would still visit the lake home in the summer. Being the small community that it was, there was little to do for young children, so my brother and I would frequently set out on our bikes to the small store or over to Ms. Ann's house to visit. Her home was full of chachkies, probably collected throughout her years traveling with the carnival. We loved stopping by Ms. Ann's house as she had a gumball machine and a constant supply of quarters which to kids was gold! On one trip we wandered into her home to the aroma of freshly baked focaccia bread. As we savored the delicious bread, we knew we had a new family favorite, and fortunately for us, she shared the recipe!

MS. ANN'S FOCACCIA BREAD

There is a misconception that baking bread is difficult to make, when in reality, it is truly some of the most basic baking I've ever done! For this recipe, I started by trimming fresh rosemary from my garden. You can buy dried rosemary at the grocery store if you don't have any on hand! 

Next, I dissolved the yeast into a bowl of warm water then transferred the mixture into my stand mixer with the attached dough hook. 

Now I added in 1 cup of the whole wheat flower and 3/4 cup of all purpose flour. I mixed them together with the dough hook for about 2 minutes until combined. 

Next, I covered the mixture with a towel, and let the dough rise for 30 minutes. 

Once the dough had risen, I added in the remaining flour, olive oil, chopped rosemary and salt and combined for another couple of minutes. The dough should come together to form a soft ball. If the dough is too sticky, or tightly wound to the hook, add a tiny bit of additional flour. 

Next, I removed the dough from the bowl and placed it onto a floured surface. I gently kneaded the dough into a ball and divided the mixture into half as this recipe makes two 6" pans! 

I pressed the dough into a liberally oiled cast iron skillet, covered with a towel, and let it rise again for 30 minutes. 

After 30 minutes had passed, I coated the top of the dough with olive oil, made shallow slices across the top, and sprinkled on the sea salt and a bit more fresh rosemary. My dough didn't rise as well as it should of because my little helper accidentally added in extra flour so our dough ended up a tiny bit overworked, but still delicious! 

I placed the bread into a 400 degree oven, and it baked for 25 minutes or until golden brown on top. 

Finally, I removed the fresh bread from the oven, brushed on a bit more olive oil, and topped with a fresh sprig of rosemary! 

The focaccia is amazing on its, own, but we sometimes like to eat it with a bit of marinara for a savory appetizer! 

This recipe is a fool proof, beginner friendly way to try your hand at home made bread, and an amazing way to utilize the wonderful herbs you have growing in your very own garden!! I hope you try this recipe out!! If you do, please share your results!! 

 

ROSEMARY FOCACCIA BREAD

Ingredients

  • 1 cup luke warm water 
  • 1 whole envelope of yeast
  • 2 cups wheat flour 
  • 1  cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup freshly chopped rosemary
  • 1 pinch of sea salt 
  • 2 tbsp olive oil plus more for brushing on top 

Cooking:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. 
  2. Start by dissolving yeast into the warm water
  3. Transfer yeast into your mixing bowl
  4. With your dough hook, slowly add in 1 cup of whole wheat flour, and 1/2 cup of the all purpose flour. Combine for 2 minutes 
  5. Cover with a towel and let rise for 30 minutes
  6. Add in olive oil, salt, chopped rosemary, and additional flour. 
  7. Mix for 2 minutes or until a soft ball forms. If sticky, add a bit more flour.
  8. Remove and roll into a ball on a floured surface.
  9. Divided into two balls
  10. Press into heavily greased 6" cast iron pans
  11. Cover with a towel and let rise for another 30 minutes
  12. Brush the tops with olive oil and top with sea salt and more chopped rosemary 
  13. Add diagonal slices across the top
  14. Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes or until golden brown on top
  15. Remove from the oven and brush on more olive oil to complete. 

xoxo 

LB