Saturday, June 8, 2013

Eat This: Rosemary Oregano Parmesan Focaccia

Impossible not to cut a piece to taste.
I love focaccia.  I bought a loaf last week from a local grocery. It was delicious, creamy with Parmesan.  I wanted to try that myself and this was the result.  I added herbs fresh from my backyard, rosemary and oregano along with shaved parmesan.  Oh yeah. Delicious.  Just try to make at least two loaves because one?  Like eating one potato chip. Not happening.


2 Cups unbleached all purpose flour
1/3 Cup warm water (110 degrees)
1 Packet quick rise yeast (Fleischman's is what I used)
3 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 Cup finely grated parmesan for the dough
1/3 Cup shaved parmesan for the top
1/4 Cup finely grated parmesan for the bottom
2 Tablespoons finely chopped rosemary - 1 1/2 for the dough 1/2 for the top
2 Tablespoons finely chopped oregano - 1 1/2 for the dough 1/2 for the top
1 Teaspoon Sal de Mer, Finishing Salt, Kosher Salt, whatever you like

Let this sit for 10-15 minutes to bloom ....

The big fluffy well-bloomed yeast mixture.
Add one packet yeast to 1/3 cup of warm water (110 degrees) and one teaspoon of sugar.  Stir and allow to "bloom".  Within about 10-12 minutes you will have a big, foamy, fragrant cup of goodness.

Sift 2 cups of all purpose flour. I use unbleached all purpose flour.

Add 1/2 cup of shaved or grated parmesan.  I like this to be the more "finely" grated parmesan.  I save the shavings for the top.

Chop 2 tablespoons each, fresh rosemary and oregano.  Use 1 1/2 tablespoons of each herb for the dough and reserve the remainder for the top. I don't particularly like dried herbs in a fresh "eat me now" kind of bread.  Be sure to not overdo the rosemary.  It has the tendency to become "medicinal" and can overpower a recipe pretty easily.

Stir in the yeast mixture.  Add water by the tablespoon until all the flour has been incorporated. Turn it out onto a floured surface and knead for about a minute.  Not a lot. It will be a fairly shaggy dough.  

Oil the bowl in which you will allow the bread to rise. I turn on the oven to 170 for about 5 minutes and then turn it off.  Once kneaded, roll into a ball and roll in the oil.  Cover with a damp linen cloth and put in the warm oven for about 30-40 minutes.

Take this opportunity to oil the pan for baking - 1 tablespoon should do it but you can add more all depending on how you love EVOO!  This time I used a round 10: cake pan.  You can also use a baking sheet and go bigger and flatter.  Put 1/4 cup of finely grated parmesan all over the bottom so the crust gets really crusty and cheesy and brown.  (insert mouth-watering sound here)

Since there is no salt in the recipe, I like a little on the top. I used this Rosemary Flake finishing salt from The Meadow.

OK, so the step I didn't have photos for was the one where after I mixed the dough up and let it rise I punched it down, turned it out onto a floured surface and stretched it a bit.  Turn up the oven and preheat to 450.  HOT OVEN. Put in the oiled and parmesan cheese lined cake pan.  Push it out to the edges with your fingers making dimples in the dough.  The EVOO will pool in the dimples and catch the other stuff to bake up into unbelievable goodness. Top with a tablespoon of the finely chopped herbs and the cheese.

Bake in the HOT oven for 12-13 minutes for a soft inside.  More for crispier crust it can go for as long as 18-20 but be careful, this is a HOT oven.  I did this one for 13 minutes and it was PERFECT.

Beautiful and crusty, the smell is awesome and it tastes great!

I had to show the bottom.  Crusty and just waiting for some fresh tomatoes, basil and mozzarella for a Caprese Salad Sandwich.

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