Tomato Rosemary Focaccia Bread

Tomato Rosemary Focaccia Bread (slightly modified from Elise Bauer on Simply Recipes)

Note: The original recipe called for me fresh rosemary to be added to the dough. I added mine to the top with chopped dried tomatoes.

Ingredients

  • 1 package dry yeast
  • 1/3 cup warm water, about 100 degrees
  • 2 1/4 cups tepid water
  • 2 Tbsp good quality olive oil, plus more for the pan and to paint on top of the bread
  • 3 cups bread flour
  • 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp salt, plus coarse salt (fleur de sel if you have it, otherwise Kosher salt) for sprinkling over the top
  • 2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh rosemary (can use sage or other herbs such as thyme or oregano, but whatever herb you use, do use fresh herbs, do not use dried)
  • chopped dried tomatoes

Method

1 Stir the yeast into the 1/3 cup of slightly warm-to-the-touch water and let it rest for 10 minutes.

2 In a large bowl, pour in 2 1/4 cups of tepid water and 2 tablespoons olive oil. After the yeast has rested for 10 minutes and has begun to froth, pour it into the water-oil mixture.

3 Whisk in 2 cups of flour (either the bread flour or the all purpose, at this stage it doesn’t matter which) and the tablespoon of salt.  Then, cup by cup, whisk in the rest of the flour (both the bread flour and all purpose). As the mixture goes from a batter to a thick dough, you’ll want to switch from a whisk to a wooden spoon. By the time you get to the last cup of flour, you will be able to work the dough with your hands. Begin to knead it in the bowl – try to incorporate all the flour stuck to the sides and bottom of the bowl as you begin kneading. (Note: I tried to use my KitchenAid for this and there was just too much quantity of dough for the size of my machine. I ended up doing all the kneading by hand)

Once the bowl is pretty clean, turn the dough out onto a board and knead it well for 8 minutes. You might need some extra flour if the dough is sticky.

5 In a large clean bowl, pour in about a tablespoon of oil and put the dough on top of it. Spread the oil all over the dough. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside to rise (in a relatively warm spot or at room temp) for an hour and a half. It should just about double in size.

6 Spread a little olive oil in your baking pan (will make it easier to remove the bread) or use baking paper. Place the dough in your baking pans or form it into free-form rounds on a baking sheet. This recipe will do four 8 inch diameter breads. Cover the breads and set aside for another 30 minutes.

7 Dimple the breads with your thumb. Push in to about the end of your thumbnail, roughly 1/2-inch. Cover again and leave it to rise for its final rise, about 2 hours.

8 With 30 minutes to go before the rise finishes, preheat your oven to 400°F.

9 Once the dough has done its final rise, gently paint the top with olive oil – as much as you want. Then sprinkle the dried tomatoes, rosemary, and coarse salt on top.

10 Bake for a total of 20-25 minutes. I put a small try of water on the bottom of my oven to add some humidity while the breads were baking.

11 When the bread comes out of the oven, turn it out onto a rack within 3-5 minutes; this way you’ll keep the bottom of the bread crispy. Let cool on a rack for 10 minutes before eating.

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