I mean, let’s be real, I forever and always love just about any bread that is served warm and fresh right out of the oven. But there’s something extra magical about warm, comforting, decadent focaccia bread. Especially this recipe, which is kicked up a major notch with lots of fresh rosemary, extra drizzles of olive oil, and a generous sprinkle of flaked sea salt. Oh my heavens, it seriously is all of my bread dreams come true.
And the best part?
It’s so easy to make!
And here is my secret. A very simple secret that will guarantee your guests begging for another dinner invitation: bake this Focaccia right before everybody is supposed to arrive. Nothing compares to the mouth-watering smell of freshly baked bread. The inviting aroma of this focaccia will surely welcome your guests into your dining room, and make them run for their fork and plate.
Everybody will be impressed by your baking ability. But now, look at my recipe: quick and easy. No need for a bread-maker or any other expensive gadget. All you need is a spoon, your hands (… can’t do without them!!) and a little bit of patience. All great things take time to bake.
The trick to amazingly soft bread is in the rising. The dough needs a warm and safe place to stay. I cover it with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel, and let it sit for about 3 hours in the oven. Turned off, obviously 🙂
I am positive that you can do this. And I know that while you will be mixing, kneading and eating this Focaccia you will be asking yourself why did you wait this long to try homemade bread. I know you will!
Like, seriously. I made this bread three times last week, and still loved every last bite of it. ?
- 4 1/2 to 5 cups bread flour (all purpose will also work)
- 2 3/4 cups warm water (about 110 degrees—not hot to the touch)
- 2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 2 teaspoons coarse sea salt, plus extra for sprinkling
- 2 tablespoons fresh chopped rosemary, plus extra for sprinkling
- 1/3 cup and 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon freshly cracked pepper
In a large mixing bowl, mix together bread flour, water, and active dry yeast. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm, dry place for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until dough has tripled in volume and is bubbly.
If using a stand mixer, attach dough hook and mix in salt and rosemary. Knead dough for an additional 5-7 minutes. Dough will be loose and sticky.
If you do not have a stand mixer, turn dough out on a heavily floured surface and, using your hands or even a wooden spoon, attempt to knead the dough. Mix in salt and rosemary at this time. Add flour as needed and fold dough in half in all directions if it will not cooperate enough to knead. Dough will be very difficult to handle, but try to incorporate as little flour as possible (it results in a softer bread).
Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise for another hour, or until doubled in volume.
In a 13 by 17-inch rimmed baking pan, evenly distribute 2 tablespoons of olive oil to coat pan. Turn out down onto pan and, with oiled hands, pull dough to the edges of the pan. The dough may resist at first, but with a little patience it will stay put. Cover dough with a clean dish towel and allow to rise for an additional 15-20 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C).
Using your fingertips, poke a couple dozen holes into the top of the bread. Pour remaining olive oil evenly over bread and sprinkle with a light dusting of coarse sea salt, rosemary, and freshly cracked pepper. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until golden brown. Let cool slightly in pan before serving warm or at room temperature.
On the second day, the crust may soften. To bring back the crispiness, I suggest reheating the bread in the oven at 400 degrees F (205 degrees C) for 5-8 minutes.