I believe one of the most wonderful scents in the world is the smell of fresh bread baking in the oven. It will always feel like home and like any successful cooking experiment, will give me a wondrous sense of accomplishment. I’ll be honest, though, that sense of accomplishment is nothing next to seeing others truly enjoy eating it.
After spending one Saturday morning relaxing with my french press coffee and watching cooking shows on public access, I had the strong desire to try something I had never done before. Just like magic, I came across this recipe for Focaccia Bread.
The recipe started out like any other, but when I looked around, I knew that I wanted to mix things up. The perfect thing for that would be sauteed onion and garlic and my herb of choice for the day would be rosemary.
But my absolute favorite part of making this bread is when you spread it out in the baking sheet with olive and get to really stick your fingers in it and create holes and ...well, you’ll see. By the way, if you are running late for a morning meeting at work, bring the left over bread in and all will be forgiven (I know from experience).
Focaccia Bread with Sauteed Red Onion
- 1-3/4 Cups warm water
- 1 Package active dry yeast
- 1 Tbls sugar
- 5 Cups all purpose flour, plus additional for kneading
- 1 Tablespoon kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling
- 1 Cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 1/2 Red Onion sliced
- 2 tsp freshly chopped rosemary
- 1 Clove minced garlic
- Gently whisk warm water (approx 100 degrees), yeast and sugar in a small bowl and place bowl in a warm place until the yeast is bubbling and aromatic, around 15-20 minutes.
- Into the mixture, add the flour, 1 Tbls of salt, 1/2 Cup olive oil. It can be stirred by hand, but a stand mixers with the dough hook will be your good friend on this one. After everything is mixed together, continue to knead for 5-6 minutes.
- Transfer the dough to a clean, lightly floured surface, then knead it a couple of times, sprinkling with flour. The dough is a "more tacky" kind of dough so rolling it around in some flour a few times until you can handle it is normal. While dough is on the counter, clean the mixing bowl and coat the inside with olive oil. Put the dough in the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and put in a warm place until it has doubled in size...I LOVE that part.
- Place the remaining 1/2 cup olive oil in a baking pan with sides. The oil will be sucked up into the bread during baking, making it delicious and crusty on the outside. Add the dough to the pan and begin pressing it out to fit the size of the pan (favorite part), turn the dough over and continue stretching the dough to fit the pan. Take the liberty of pushing your fingers in the dough, this will help create the uneven surface you see in the photo.
- Once again, put the dough in a warm place until it has doubled in size, about 1 hour. About 15 minutes before the dough is done rising, heat 2 Tbls of the olive oil in a skillet. When hot, add garlic and onion to pan till the onion is soft, about 7-8 minutes. While the dough is rising a second time, preheat the oven to 425o F.
- Liberally sprinkle the top of the focaccia with some coarse salt and the rosemary and lightly drizzle a little oil on top.
- Bake the dough until the top of the loaf is golden brown, about 20-30 minutes. It does brown fast towards the end so keep your eye on it. Remove the focaccia from the oven and resist every urge to tear into it immediately. Let it cool keeping the steam inside and intact, leaving you with a very moist bread. Carefully remove from the pan whole after it has been out of the oven for 10 minutes.