Is there anything better than the smell and taste of fresh, homemade bread? I’m convinced there’s not. And just to make sure I was right, I baked two focaccia loaves yesterday in the name of science and taste-testing and stuff.
I’ve made ciabatta and other simple Italian breads before, but this focaccia….this may be my new go-to bread recipe. It doesn’t require an overnight starter like a lot of ciabatta recipes, and the ingredients are simple, fresh, and the recipe is relatively easy. It does need an overall rising time of about 3.5-4 hours, but that’s it. The secrets are high quality extra virgin olive oil and good Maldon sea salt.
You can get pretty creative with the flavors. The recipe will make two loaves, or one giant one. I decided to split it in two and try two different varieties – a rosemary and olive oil loaf, and a rosemary-asiago cheese loaf (I was on a rosemary kick). When it was time to taste, I would tear off a bite of one and think it was the better one, then taste the other and think that was better, and then go back to tasting #1, and then #2 again, and you get the picture. It’s addicting.
Serve these with a rotisserie chicken for dinner, and you’re golden.
Bubbly Focaccia, Two Ways
Yield: 1 large focaccia loaf, or two medium-sized loaves
Prep time: approx. 5 hours
Cook time: 20-25 minutes
- 7 cups bread flour (plus more for dusting)
- 1 tsp. active dry yeast
- 3 cups warm water (approx. 110 degrees)
- 1.5 tblsp. sea salt
- Extra virgin olive oil for coating and drizzling
- Maldon sea salt
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, chopped (for rosemary loaf)
- 1-1.5 C (approx.) rosemary-asiago cheese, freshly grated (for cheese loaf)