Herbed Fococcia Bread

IMG_1239The bread turned out a little denser than I expected but was still good.  It was hard to stretch it out and didn’t want to break the bubbles like the instructions said.  We paired it with Little Dippers Company Parmesan with Roasted Garlic Olive Oil (mixed with parmesan cheese).

IMG_1241(Recipe from Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook Bridal Edition)

4 to 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup warm water (105 – 115 degrees)
1 TSP active dry yeast
1 cup warm water (105-115 degrees)
2 TSP salt
2 TSP fresh snipped rosemary (or 1 TSP dried)
1 TBSP olive oil
Coarse salt

For the sponge, in a bowl combine 1/2 cup of the flour, the 1/2 cup warm water and the yeast.  Beat with a wooden spoon until smooth.  Cover loosely with plastic wrap.  Let sponge stand overnight at room temperature to ferment.

Gradually stir in the 1 cup warm water, the 2 TSP of salt, rosemary and just enough of the flour to make a dough that pulls away from the sides of the bowl.  Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface.  Knead in enough of the remaining flour to make a stiff dough that is smooth and elastic (8 to 10 minutes total).  Place dough in a lightly greased bowl, turning once.  Cover, let rise in a warm place until double (about 1 hour).

Turn dough out onto a well-floured baking sheet.  Place an extra-large bowl upside down over the dough to cover it; let rest 30 minutes.  Meanwhile, preheat the oven and a bread stone to 475 degrees.  Shape dough on the baking sheet into a circle about 11 inches in diameter by pulling and pressing with your fingertips (Don’t stretch dough too roughly or it will deflate; you want to keep air bubbles intact.)

Make 1/2 inch deep indentations every two inches in the dough with your fingers.  Brush dough with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with coarse salt.  Carefully slide the bread from the floured baking sheet to the preheated bread stone (I put parchment paper on the baking sheet and used that to move it.)

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden, checking after 8 minutes and popping any large air bubbles with a sharp knife.  Remove from bread stone with large spatulas (again, the parchment paper helped move it back to the baking sheet).  Cool on a wire rack for about 15 minutes.  Best served warm but it worked well cold later in the day.

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