Rosemary Focaccia Bread

Rosemary, garlic, and bread. And a ton of olive oil….how can you go wrong with that? Focaccia is the simplest bread to make – it’s essentially pizza dough, with extra oil and seasonings. It is good plain, but even better with a generous Tablespoon of rough chopped rosemary and thinly sliced garlic.

garlic and rosemaryAlthough I sometimes like to be a hero and mix my bread dough by hand, I typically let the KitchenAid mixer do the heavy work. There is nothing meditative or relaxing about kneading dough while contending with a very busy 3 year old. So the next step is to get out your stand mixer (or bowl and wooden spoon, if you don’t have a toddler) and add in your flour, yeast, salt and oil.

dry ingredients

With the dough hook, mix the ingredients for a minute or two, then add in the water. Turn the mixer up to medium low, and find something else productive to do for 5 to 7 minutes.

mixing

Expect this dough to be sticky – that’s ok. Your dough isn’t really sticky? That’s ok too! There is an inconsistency when using volume (instead of weight) to measure flour. In most cases, this causes problems (this is why recipes call for inexact cups of flour, instead of an exact amount). But no worries here – as long as the dough is not overly dry (think crumbles), the finished result will be good. 
press
Oil a 9 inch baking pan with about 1 Tablespoon of olive oil. Dump the sticky dough into the pan, and then use wet fingers to press the dough into a disk. Water or oil on your fingertips works well for this. Tightly cover with Stretch-Tite (because it’s the only brand of plastic wrap that actually works…) and allow to rise for about an hour. 
pokeWhen the dough has risen, take off the plastic wrap and give it a good poke. About a dozen or so, with your finger or the handle of a wooden spoon. At this point, you should go ahead and preheat your oven to 425F. You should also douse your bread in olive oil….or drizzle….whatever fat level you prefer. I use about a Tablespoon – but a little more, is good too. You can also sprinkle the bread with salt, pepper, dried Italian seasoning, parmesan cheese, etc. 
oiledWhen the oven is ready, give the pan a good swirl – to dislodge some of the oil from the holes. Then bake until golden brown, and everyone in the house is drooling. Let it cool on a wire rack for at least 20 minutes before you cut and serve.
finished loaf
  • 2 Cups flour (unbleached all-purpose)
  • 1 Cup warm water
  • 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon oil
  • 1 Tablespoon rosemary
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped garlic
  • olive oil, salt, pepper, Italian seasonings to top
Combine flour, yeast, salt and oil in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add water and mix/knead until combined. Add garlic and rosemary. Mix for 5-7 minutes, until dough is well-kneaded. The dough will be sticky.
Pour 1 Tablespoon of oil into a 9 inch cake pan. Dump dough into pan, and press out into a disc. Cover with plastic wrap, and allow to rise for 1 hour.
10 minutes before baking, use you finger to make indentations into the dough. Drizzle with 1-2 Tablespoons of olive oil. Sprinkle with sea salt, cracked pepper and/or dried Italian seasoning.
Bake at 425F for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown.
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Country White Bread

CWB

A conversation with a friend about feeding our kids less processed food, left me looking for a go-to white bread recipe. I love to bake bread, but it is typically a Sunday Dinner (takes all day) affair. I needed to find something that was quick (as quick as yeast breads get), easy, and something I could do on a week day morning – but still flavorful enough to rival a starter bread with multiple rises, water baths, and misting!

I found this recipe at Pennies & Pancakes (a great resource for saving money while eating healthier food). The original recipe is for two loaves. But since I only have one loaf pan, I modified the recipe for one. Big mistake….because this stuff disappeared fast! (Note to self – buy another loaf pan). Enjoy!

  • 1 1/2 Cups warm water
  • 1/8 Cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 2 Tablespoons oil (canola)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3+ Cups flour (unbleached, all-purpose)

Combine water, sugar and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer. Let stand for 5 minutes to proof. Add oil, salt and 3 Cups of  flour. Mix/knead on low until dough is elastic and slightly sticky (7-10 minutes). If dough appears to be too sticky/wet, add flour (1/4 Cup at a time) until right consistency is reached.

Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, and allow to rise to double in size (about 1 1/2 hours). Punch down dough, and knead onto a lightly floured surface. Form into a loaf, and place into a greased 9″ loaf pan. Allow to rise until dough is 1-2 inches above the pan edge.

Bake bread at 375F for 25-30 minutes. Immediately remove from pan, and allow to cool on a rack.

This bread is great fresh, toasted with butter, or to make a fabulous grilled cheese sandwich!