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Italy Mode & a Recipe for Garlic-Rosemary Focaccia

I’m in Italy mode.

It may be because C and I took an Italian cooking class a few weeks ago. Or, it could be that impending trip to Italy {this autumn}. Whatever the reason, I feel like food isn’t sufficient unless it is doused in olive oil and covered in tomatoes and basil… or unless the names of said food are pronounced with an Italian accent.

Garlic-Rosemary Focaccia
I find myself adding an Italian flare to not-so-Italian dishes. Last night, for example, I grilled chicken and peppers for dinner, but served it alongside a tomato and basil salad and some fresh focaccia. Also, a glass {or two} of Italian red wine may or may not have been consumed…

Surely part of this new found craze can be attributed to the fact that while winter was mild this year, Mother Nature seems to have forgotten about us. Apparently spring has passed and summer has arrived, but we’ve yet to see any evidence of it. It’s only natural that I’m longing to indulge in Italian goodies in the hot Tuscan sun, right?

Until the day comes that I can pack my bags and hop on that plane, homemade Italian food will have to do. This Garlic-Rosemary Focaccia does the trick in a pinch. Dip it in oil and vinegar, or grill it up and serve with some fresh bruschetta; however you choose to serve it, you’ll be glad that you did {just make sure you say it with an Italian accent}.

Garlic-Rosemary Focaccia

Garlic-Rosemary Focaccia
Makes 2 loaves

Ingredients:
1/3 cup warm water (about 100 degrees Fahrenheit)
2 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons garlic salt
1 ½ cups lukewarm water
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for top of bread
1-2 tablespoons fresh, finely chopped rosemary, plus more to serve (optional)
Coarse sea salt, for sprinkling
¼ cup fresh grated parmesan, for sprinkling

Instructions:
1. Pour warm water in a large bowl fit to an electric mixer. Sprinkle yeast over top and let rest for 10 minutes.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk flours and garlic salt together; set aside.  Pour remaining water and 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture and mix on low speed using a dough hook for 1 minute. Add 1/3 more of the flour mixture, and mix for another minute. Add the last 1/3 of the flour mixture, along with the rosemary, and mix for 5-6 minutes, or until you have a smooth, soft, elastic dough; shape dough into a ball.

3. Grease a large bowl with olive oil and place the dough inside; toss to coat. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise for 1 hour.

4. Divide dough into two equal sized pieces and shape into 1” high rounds, using your hands. Place them on a large, lightly greased (or parchment lined) baking sheet, cover with a tea towel, and let rise for 30 minutes.

5. Use your thumb (or the handle of a wooden spoon) to create dimples in the dough, by pressing down firmly. Cover, and let rest for another 2 hours.

6. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and place an oven proof dish half filled with water on the bottom rack. Brush the top of each loaf liberally with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and parmesan. Bake focaccia in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until the crust is dark golden in colour. Let cool for five minutes on pan, and then transfer to a wire rack to cool for another 10 minutes. Sprinkle with additional rosemary before slicing and serving, if desired.

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