Well, it’s been a hot minute! The month of August was probably the most intense of 2020. Physically, emotionally, extracurricularly, work-wise, just…everything. I have hardly spent any time in the kitchen, let alone had time to test recipes and take photos. Until last week, when my body (nay, my heart, and soul) started craving focaccia bread after I saw someone bake it on the Food Network. Suddenly, all I wanted was to create some of it for myself and shove it in my face. What a great side dish, I thought to myself! This will go great with dinner! Well, my friends, this garlic and rosemary focaccia bread actually became dinner. And that is absolutely okay because sometimes we need food that fuels our hearts and souls, not just our bodies.
Going back to work in August after not having worked in so long was a shock to my system, to say the least. Retooling my routine to now include staring at a screen for 6+ hours a day has been tough on my eye my mind. My eyes itch, even with glasses that filter out the blue light, and I have started to develop odd tension in my jaw. Sure, it’s not the healthiest choice to put half a tray of this stuff in my mouth, and I would not suggest it as a cure for eye strain. That said, the choice was good for my heart.
What I love about this recipe is that it is only seven ingredients and comes together in under two hours:
- All-purpose flour
- Instant yeast
- Kosher salt
- Olive oil. LOTS of olive oil.
- Roasted garlic
Yes, a recipe with commercial yeast! Gasp! You might be wondering about my sourdough loving heart. I still bake at least one loaf of sourdough every week, but sometimes you don’t want to ferment the dough for twelve hours and wait and wait. Sometimes you want to go from ingredients to table in under two hours! Now you can.
First, whisk your flour, instant yeast, and salt together in the mixing bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment. Then add your water and oil and mix on low until a cohesive dough forms. Cover the dough with plastic wrap or a damp towel and leave in a warm area of the kitchen to rise for 45 to 60 minutes.
Thoroughly coat a 9×13 glass baking dish with olive oil and transfer the proofed dough from the bowl to the dish. And I mean generously. Slather that dish with olive oil, folks. Many glugs of the bottle. Don’t be shy Gently stretch the dough so it reaches almost to the edges of the dish, cover, and let rise for another 20 minutes.
During this rise, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
See how all of that olive oil has pooled on top of the proofed dough? This is exactly what we want. Now the fun part of the focaccia process begins. Dimpling. With your fingers, dimple the dough, pressing until your fingertips reach the bottom of the baking dish. Like with the olive oil, don’t be why! Go ahead and dimple away. Once the dough is sufficiently riddled with divots and bumps, it’s time to add your toppings.
My trick for this bread is to use frozen garlic, which I talked about in a blog post here. I keep whole heads of roasted garlic in my freezer at all times. They’re perfect for plopping into soups, sautés (when I’m actually in the mood to stand over the stove), and bread. What I do is break up the frozen garlic and then press the pieces, while still frozen, into the dough. This way, the garlic cloves do not burn! Following the garlic, I sprinkles rosemary that has been removed from the stems over the bread and gently press it into the dough with my fingers.
Drizzle with even more olive oil because yes, of course, you can. Not only will it keep your bread from sticking, but it will help ensure your loaf has a fabulous, golden hue when it comes out of the oven. Bake for 20 minutes and then pull your incredible, garlicky heaven of creation from the oven.
The Best, Fastest Homemade Focaccia Bread
- Stand Mixer with dough hook attachment
- 9×13" glass baking dish
- 450 grams all-purpose flour
- 8 grams instant yeast (~2 ¼ teaspoons)
- 8 grams kosher salt (~1 teaspoon)
- 295 grams water (~1 1/3 cups)
- 50 grams olive oil extra virgin, PLUS more for coating baking dish
- 1 head roasted garlic frozen
- 1 sprig rosemary fresh, leaves separated from the stem
- In the bowl of the stand mixer, measure out the all-purpose flour, instant yeast, and kosher salt. Thoroughly whisk together until fully incorporated.
- To the bowl, add the water and 50 grams of olive oil.
- With the stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment set to low, knead the dough until a cohesive dough forms, approximately 5 to 7 minutes. The dough will come together, but will remain sticky.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a damp towel and leave in a warm area to rise for 45 to 60 minutes. If you are concerned that the dough will stick to the sides of the bowl, drizzle olive oil in to the bowl and flip the dough over with your hands to coat the bottom and sides.
- After the dough has doubled in volume, transfer it to a well oiled 9×13 baking dish. Do NOT be shy with the olive oil! Oil the pan generously so the dough does not stick when baking. Cover and leave the dough to rise for another 20 minutes.
- While the dough is rising for a second time, preheat the oven to 400°.
- Dimple the dough with your fingers- press your fingers into the dough repeatedly until your fingers touch the bottom of the baking dish and the bread is covered in dimples.
- Press the roasted garlic and rosemary into the dough with your fingers.
- Bake for 20 minutes, or until the dough is golden brown.
Shove half of the tray in your face. Or the whole tray. Or slice it into narrow pieces and serve it this pasta dish. Or this pasta dish! Or, as my mom would probably eat it, with a big, loaded salad. Have this bread your way.
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