Nothing smells like hot bread fresh from the oven!
servings: 20-15 / preparation time: about 4 hours
1 (1/4 ounce) package active-dry yeast (2 ¼ teaspoons)
1 ½ teaspoons honey
1 ½ cups warm water (110°F)
½ cup semolina (3 ounces)
4 cups all-purpose flour (20 ounces), plus extra as needed
1 teaspoon fine salt
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra as needed
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 to 6 sprigs fresh rosemary, minced, plus extra sprigs for garnish
vegetable oil cooking spray
2 teaspoons coarse sea salt
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 – Combine yeast, honey and water in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook; mix for 30 seconds. Set aside until foamy and creamy, about 5 to 10 minutes.
2 – With the mixer on low speed, add the semolina, flour, fine salt, olive oil, garlic and rosemary, and mix until just incorporated. Increase the speed to medium-high and mix until shiny and smooth, about 4 minutes more. Note: add a bit more flour if the dough is not cleaning the sides of the bowl.
3 – Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl; turn it over to oil all sides. Cover with oiled plastic wrap and allow rising in a warm draft-free place until almost doubled in size (about 1:30 to 2 hours).
4 – Punch down the dough, and return to the bowl; cover with plastic wrap and set aside for a second rise, about 1 hour more.
5 – Preheat the oven to 400°F. Lightly spray a 10 x 15-inch pan with cooking spray. Without kneading, gently place the dough in the pan, spreading it out to fit. Cover with oiled plastic wrap and set aside for about 15 minutes.
6 – Just before baking, make dimples in the bread by pressing with our fingertips (as shown in the picture). Drizzle olive oil over the surface and spread lightly with your fingers. Sprinkle coarse sea salt and pepper, and garnish with a few springs of rosemary.
7 – Bake in the center of the oven until lightly browned, about 20 minutes. Rotate the pan halfway trough baking time. Remove from the pan and cool on a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Tips and Options:
- To make a crunchy crust, spray water in the oven to create steam. It also works if you place a pan with ice cubes in the rack underneath.
- Besides salt and rosemary, other options for toppings are: olives, sun-dried tomatoes, roasted garlic, caramelized onions, Italian cheeses and other herbs.
- It can be served as an appetizer, snack, side dish or used to prepare sandwiches.
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I have learned to make this recipe in a bread basics class. I have to say that it is a lot of work, but the result is so worth it! This focaccia is very tasty. I hope you enjoy!