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Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Focaccia al Rosmarino (Rosemary Focaccia)

This is the recipe that lends its name to my blog. Why, you will ask (and even if you don't, I will tell you anyways). Because I think it sums up the kind of cooking I like. From scratch, as there are no shortcuts for making a good focaccia. Simple, like the few ingredients it is made from. Passionate, as it is only passion that would have you decide to dedicate a few hours to the kneading, patiently waiting for the dough to rise and the the baking. Soothing and comforting, like the lovely smell of warm bread and rosemary that spreads around the house when I bake my focaccia. And finally, satisfying, like the feeling I get when I see the happy faces of my family and friends tucking in.
As you need to make a pizza dough first, please see the list of ingredients and instructions in my pizza post. This amount of ingredients will produce 5 or 6 focaccias, so if you want to make less, simply reduce the amount of the ingredients in proportion. I recommend you use at least 500 gr of flour though, in order to make the effort worthwhile! You can always freeze any leftover focaccias, then defrost and warm them up slightly in the oven before you serving them.

Once you have your risen pizza dough ready, take some (approximately the size of two fists) and 'knock it back' by kneading it for a couple of minutes. While kneading it, fold in a good pinch of dried rosemary and a generous glug of olive oil.

Shape your focaccia like a large, oval bread roll and using a rolling pin, flatten it slightly. Cover it with a damp, clean cloth and let it rise again for about 15 minutes. When this time has passed, create a few dimples all over the focaccia's surface using your fingertips, then drizzle it generously with extra-virgin olive oil and scatter it with Maldon sea salt and fresh rosemary leaves.
Bake it in a pre-heated oven at 200°C for about 15 minutes, or until golden and still reasonably soft (you don't want to overcook it otherwise it'll have a dry, biscuit-like consistency). A tip to test if it is cooked through: tap its bottom lightly with your finger. If it makes a hollow sound, it means it is. Drizzle it with some more olive oil and serve it while still warm, alongside cheese, cured meats, olives, soup or whatever else you may fancy.

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