27 October 2009

Recipe: Focaccia with Olives and Rosemary

It's kind of hard for me to believe I haven't posted this recipe before. It's one of my favorites. Not only is it delicious (especially when you have fresh rosemary available). But it's also pretty easy to make. The only thing tricky about it is that focaccia is supposed to be a soft, airy bread. So you only want to use just enough flour to allow you to handle the dough without sticking. Lots of good quality olive oil helps. That caveat notwithstanding, I still use more like 5½ cups flour, about 1 cup more than the recipe calls for.

The only other modification I use is I mix the olives into the dough rather than spread them on top as the recipe says.

This really makes a big loaf. I usually end up freezing half of it for a future use. But it also keeps fairly well in the refrigerator. I like to split it and toast it and eat it with butter and cheese and fruit for breakfast.

Focaccia with Olives and Rosemary, Bon Appetit, May 1995

2 cups warm water
2 teaspoons dry yeast
4½ cups (about) all purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons olive oil
24 black or green brine-cured olives (such as Kalamata or Greek),pitted, halved
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary or 1½ teaspoons dried

Place 2 cups warm water in large bowl. Sprinkle dry yeast over; stir with fork. Let stand until yeast dissolves, about 10 minutes.

Add 4 1/4 cups flour and salt to yeast mixture and stir to blend well (dough will be sticky). Knead dough on floured surface until smooth and elastic, adding more flour by tablespoonfuls if dough is sticky, about 10 minutes. Form dough into ball. Oil large bowl; add dough, turning to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in warm area until doubled, about 1 1/2 hours. Punch down dough; knead into ball and return to same bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in warm area until doubled, about 45 minutes or less

Coat 15x10-inch baking sheet with 1 tablespoon oil. Punch down dough. Transfer to prepared sheet. Using fingertips, press out dough to 13x10-inch rectangle. Let dough rest 10 minutes. Drizzle 2 tablespoons oil over dough. Sprinkle olives and chopped rosemary evenly over. Let dough rise uncovered in warm area until puffy, about 25 minutes.

Preheat oven to 475°F. Press fingertips all over dough, forming indentations. Bake bread until brown and crusty, about 20 minutes. Serve bread warm or at room temperature.

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