Rosemary or Parmesan Focaccia Bread

“Every spirit passing through the world fingers the tangible and mars and the mutable, and finally has come to look and not to buy.”                                        Marilynne Robinson, in Housekeeping

This tangible is worth a finger or two. I ate, easily, six pieces. To mar this mutable seems a lovely thing. As close to purchase as it comes. Image

Rosemary or Parmesan Focaccia Bread
adapted from Baking Illustrated

Sponge
1/2 cup unbleached, all purpose flour
1/2 cup warm water [100-110 degrees]
1 cup sourdough starter

Combine flour, water and starter in a large bowl and stir with a wooden spoon until a uniform mass forms and no dry flour remains, about 1 minute. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes.

Dough

1 medium russet potato (mashed)—whatever makes 1 ½ cups potato

3 1/2 cups unbleached, all purpose flour

1 cup warm water [100-110 degrees]
1 cup sourdough starter
1 1/4 tsp kosher salt
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves

Dough
Stir the flour, water and starter into the sponge with a wooden spoon until a uniform mass forms and no dry flour remains, about 1 minute. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature 15 minutes.

Sprinkle 2 teaspoons of the salt over the dough; stir into the dough until thoroughly incorporated, about 1 minute. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature, 30 minutes. Spray a rubber spatula or bowl scraper with olive oil; fold the partially risen dough over itself by gently lifting and folding the edge of the dough toward the middle. Turn the bowl 90 degrees; fold again. Turn the bowl and fold the dough six more times [for a total of 8 turns]. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise, 30 minutes. Repeat the folding, turning, and rising two more times, for a total of three 30-minute rises. Meanwhile, adjust an oven rack to the upper-middle position, place a baking stone on the rack, and heat the oven to 500 degrees, at least 30 minutes before baking.

Gently transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface. Lightly dust the top of the dough with flour and divide in half. Shape each piece of dough into a 5-inch round by gently tucking under the edges. Coat two 9-inch round cakes pans with 2 tablespoons olive oil each. Sprinkle each pan with 1/ 2 teaspoon salt. Place a round of dough in one pan, top side down, slide the dough around the pan to coat the bottom and sides, then flip the dough over. Repeat with the second piece of dough. Cover the pans with plastic wrap and let rest for 5 minutes.Image

Using your fingertips, press the dough out toward the edges of the pan, taking care not to tear it. [If the dough resists stretching, let it relax for 5 to 10 minutes before trying to stretch it again.] Using a dinner fork, poke the entire surface of the dough 25-3o times. If any large bubbles remain on the surface or sides of the dough, pop with the fork to deflate.Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle the rosemary or Parmesan evenly over the top of the dough. Let the dough rest in the pan until slightly bubbly, 5-10 minutes.

Place the pans on the baking stone and lower the oven temperature to 450 degrees. Bake until the tops are golden brown, 25-28 minutes, switching the pans halfway through the baking time. Transfer the pans to a wire rack and cool 5 minutes. Remove the loaves from the pan and place on the wire rack. Brush the tops with any oil remaining in the pan. Cool 30 minutes before serving.Image

This was an incredible accompaniment to chili (a new recipe which I’ll post tomorrow). Short and stout and rich with flavor! 5 stars!

7 thoughts on “Rosemary or Parmesan Focaccia Bread

  1. This looks delicious. I have bookmarked it. Will let you know when I make it. I have never made one before, but I will try….Have a wonderful weekend and than you for liking my posts. Your presence is always acknowledged!!!!

  2. Dear Rachel, I love your blog reading nearly every entry you post! And cooking some! You are amazing!

    I am researching information about blogs to determine if I want to develop one to share family history and artifacts. I have family pictures, garments, recipes, dishes, letters, birth and marriage certificates, etc. I am the keeper of the family history and I feel I should share. I have entered information of 250 family members into Ancestry.com through Family Tree Maker. They concurred, for the extensive information I have, a blog would be excellent.

    I would love to visit with you about why you selected WordPress rather than other blog sites. Suggestions on how to name a site and tips in setting up, managing, etc. I have some tech and creative knowledge. I taught web enhanced courses before retirement. You may have seen my photography and gardens as they were featured in the Rochester Women’s Magazine May/June 2013 issue. As I recall, we e-mailed about gathering in my gardens and here we are snowed in, though beautiful!

    Hope we could at least communicate via e-mail or phone as I know you are extremely busy. Looking forward to hearing from you!

    Suzanne Dinusson

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