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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Rosemary Foccacia

Are you one of those people that likes to sing along to the radio? Are you driving along the road, blasting some “Life is a Highway,” and singing at the top of your lungs? I’ll be the first to admit that I’m an automobile vocal superstar. People driving by me either think I’m a crazy person, or that I’m having a very animated conversation with someone on my Bluetooth. (hint hint people, I don’t have a Bluetooth, I’m a crazy person)

Boyfriend also likes to sing along to the radio, although he is more of a creative soul. He will not be constrained by lyrics or rhymes. You know all the words to California Gurls? So does boyfriend, but sorry Katy Perry, those are boring lyrics. Boyfriends songs are so much better, because they are about delicious sandwiches.

Seriously, no joke. Boyfriends songs are all on the same topic – Sandwiches, and how delicious they are. Cee-Lo Green wants to forget someone? That’s fine, boyfriend wants a ham sandwich. U2 thinks it’s a beautiful day? Great, boyfriend is going to spend that beautiful day making a pastrami on rye. Even Elvis gets in on the sandwich goodness in his blue suede shoes. I think it’s a whole new genre of music – sandwich.

With the seriousness of boyfriends sandwich serenading, you would think that his main food group consisted of something between two pieces of bread. You would be wrong. Boyfriends main food group consists of foods sold at Dunkin’ Donuts. Extra-large double doubles, vanilla sprinkle donuts, Big’n’Toasty sandwiches. Oh wait! That last one was a sandwich! I was wrong, he loves sandwiches!

Anyways, this all has a point! Monday I wooed you with a tortellini soup and I teased you with glimpses of foccacia. Today I make good on my promise of bread! Some things take forever and are totally not worth the wait. Standing in line for Space Mountain, only to go on a roller coaster in the dark, lame-o. Anticipating the movie release of your favorite book, just to discover they totally ruined the plotline (I’m looking at you Bourne Identity!). Spending hours on a recipe and being disappointed in the outcome? Not this recipe! This foccacia was amazing! Airy, herby, delicious. Go make this, but be warned that it will be a full day before you have bread.

Rosemary Foccacia

½ cup olive oil

¼ cup rosemary, chopped
5 cups bread flour
2 tsp salt
2 tsp instant yeast
6 tbsp olive oil
2 cups water, room temperature
Coarse salt

Place olive oil in a microwave safe bowl and heat at 30 second intervals until the temperature reads 100 degrees. Add rosemary and allow the oil to sit while you make the dough.

In a large bowl (or your stand mixer), combine flour, salt and yeast. Turn on mixer and add olive oil, one tablespoon at a time. With the mixer running, add water in a slow stream. The dough will seem very wet, mix for about 5 minutes until the dough is smooth. Switch to a dough hook (or with wet hands) and knead for 5 to 7 minutes. The dough will be very sticky, but it should clear the sides of the bowl and remain stuck to the bottom.

Make a bed of flour about 8 inches square. Place dough in the bed of flour and shape into a rectangle. Dust the dough with flour and let it sit for five minutes. This will allow the dough to relax a little.

Dust your hands with flour and stretch the rectangle to three times its current length. Fold the dough like a letter, one side over the other. Spray the dough with cooking spray and dust with flour. Let the dough sit for thirty minutes. Stretch and fold the dough twice more, turning it a quarter turn each time. After the third stretch and fold, cover the dough loosely with plastic wrap and allow the dough to ferment for 1 hour.

Line a 17x12-inch pan with parchment or a Silpat. Lightly coat the pan with olive oil and transfer the dough to the pan. Pour on ¼ cup of herb oil and shape the dough. Using your fingertips, stretch and spread the dough. Try to even out the dough across the entire pan and stretch it to all corners. If it doesn’t stretch all of the way to 17x12 don’t worry, it will puff up during the proofing stage. Cover the baking sheet with plastic wrap and place in the fridge overnight.

The next day…

Take dough out of the fridge and pour on remaining ¼ cup herb oil and dimple it in with your fingers. You want it about ½-inch thick. Add coarse salt and let the dough rise for 3 hours, or until it is 1-inch high.

Preheat the oven to 500. Place risen dough on the center rack and lower heat to 450. Bake for 10 minutes then rotate pan 180 degrees. Bake for another 5 to 10 minutes, you want a nice golden color on your bread. Remove the bread from the oven and take it off the pan immediately. Let the baked foccacia cool for twenty minutes before cutting. Phew, you’re done!


1 piece foccacia, sliced in half
Sharp cheddar cheese

Heat a griddle, on the stovetop, to medium heat. Put lots of cheese between the slices of foccacia. Place sandwich on the griddle. Place a small dish on top of the sandwich, weigh down the plate with a 5-lb bag of sugar. Cook until cheese is all melty and bread is crunchy. Yum, sandwiches.
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