Let’s get one thing straight – I am not a baker. It requires patience, precise measurements and a will to try again when your cookies burn for the 4th time. You can’t adjust the flavour or texture once those goodies are out of the oven.
You’d think that with my chemistry background, I would be a good baker, but alas, I am not. Until I started writing this blog, measuring ingredients wasn’t something I did regularly. Who has time for that? I would throw in a little salt, or maybe a little chilli pepper if I was in the mood for something spicy. If it wasn’t all that great at the end (no problem!), I’d top it off with some cheese and it’s good to go. Hey! We’ve all been there, you know exactly what I’m talking about. But with baking, it’s either coming out beautifully or you’re back to mixing flour, sugar and butter again. My cookies always came out burnt or super crunchy, and my bread was hard as a brick.
But when we went to Italy last year, focaccia bread became one of my favourite carbs (next to pasta and pizza of course!). So naturally, I needed to make this delicious bread at home. But then that would mean that I’d have to bake. What was I going to do? So like almost everyone else, I scoured the internet looking for “how-to” guides on easy baking. There were loads of baking tips to skim through and recipes for focaccia bread. All the blogs and recipes seemed to looked so easy. Was that even possible? Take it from a non-baker – baking focaccia bread is SUPER SIMPLE!
This bread is the perfect balance of soft and chewy and ideal for dipping into that special balsamic vinegar and olive oil you’ve been saving for a special occasion. Or serve it warm with cheese on the side and a good glass of red wine!
Remember when I said that baking focaccia bread is super easy? All you need to do is proof the yeast, throw in some flour and “glugs” of olive oil and you’re making focaccia! Let it rest for an hour until it’s doubled in size, punch in the dough and spread it over the pan with some extra olive oil for good measure before placing it in the oven.
I sprinkled rosemary and roasted garlic cloves over the dough before baking it for extra flavour. Because let’s be honest, everything is better with garlic! You’ll swoon as your kitchen fills with aromas of freshly baked bread, earthy rosemary and deep roasted garlic flavours.
- ½ cup olive oil
- 1 garlic clove
- 2¼ tsp traditional yeast
- 1 2'/3 cup warm water
- 4 cups all purpose flour
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 3 fresh rosemary sprigs
- salt, chilli flakes for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 350F. Cut the top part of the garlic clove off, to expose the individual cloves. Place the clove in a baking pan and drizzle the olive oil on top. Cover the pan and bake for approx. 45 min to 1 hour until the cloves soften and start to pop out. Keep the oil and roasted garlic aside.
- Proof the yeast by dissolving it in the water. Wait until the mixture starts to foam.
- Add the yeast, flour, olive oil and salt to a bowl and mix on low speed until a dough forms. Then mix at medium speed for 8-10 mins until the dough begins sticky and stretchy.
- Drizzle 2 tbsp of olive oil into a bowl and add the dough. Roll the dough in the olive oil and it is coated. Cover it with a towel and let it rest until it doubles in size, approx. 1 hour.
- Once the dough has doubled in size, punch down the dough a few times and then transfer to a baking pan. Stretch out the dough in a 9x13" pan and baste it in the reserved garlic olive oil. Let it rest for another 30 mins until the dough starts to rise. Preheat the oven to 375F at this time.
- Dimple the dough with your finger tips. Top with rosemary leaves and drizzle with extra garlic oil and sprinkle with salt. Add chilli flakes if desired as well.
- Bake at 375F for 15-20 mins, until the dough starts to brown at the top and the dough is cooked through.
- Cut into pieces and serve warm.