Making bread from scratch often sounds intimidating to developing cooks and bakers – it’s not! Sometimes, it’s insanely rewarding to try something new and challenging. This may entail baking fresh bread for the first time or developing your own bread recipe (if you’re a seasoned baker).
This recipe is basic; so, feel free to play with it, adding your own flavors and flair. Share the piping hot bread with your family and friends; not many neighbors come to your door with fresh, homemade bread in this millennium. Most importantly, remember to eat your loaf piping hot, dipped in flavorful, premium olive oil. Enjoy!
Above, the bread has risen! Do I hear a “mazel tov!”?
Hard day at work? Give the dough a few good punches! Don’t you feel better?
The dough is formed into a small loaf and placed on a pizza sheet dusted with instant polenta or cornmeal.
The dough is covered with lightly oiled plastic wrap and allowed to proof.
Bake the loaf off and dip warm bread in a luxurious pool of golden olive oil. MMMMM.
Long story short: My husband and I finish off the entire loaf at dinner. It is enjoyed with a green salad, roast chicken and roasted root vegetables. Suddenly, I discern that this is a perfect day (sigh!).
Use the recipe below to turn even the most challenging day into an ideal one: the secret to happiness might be one loaf of bread away.
Rosemary, Olive and EVOO Focaccia (100% whole grain)
High Altitude tested and approved! Makes one medium loaf, perfect as a side-dish for four.
2 tsp. active dry yeast
1 cup very hot water
2 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. granulated sugar
3 Tbsp. fresh, chopped rosemary
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. dried basil
1 1/2 tsp. fine salt
1/2 tsp. cracked black pepper
1/2 cup sliced high-quality mixed olives of your choice, such as black beldi, kalamata or castelvetrano
3 Tbsp. extra virgin garlic olive oil (EVOO), plus more for oiling bowl
2 – 3 cups of white wheat flour*
Instant polenta or cornmeal, for dusting the pizza stone or pan
Extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper, for serving
1.) Combine the yeast, water and sugar in a bowl. Stir and allow to sit for fifteen minutes and the mixture is bubbly.
2.) In a kitchen mixer fitted with a dough hook, add the remaining ingredients through the olive oil. Then, with the mixer running on medium-low, slowly add the flour until a ball of dough is formed and the dough is all on the dough hook. You may need a little less of the flour or a little more, depending on the flour you use and your elevation. Then allow the mixer to knead the bread at medium speed for several minutes.
3.) Remove the ball of dough from dough hook and place in a bowl oiled with the olive oil, about one tablespoon. Make sure your bowl is non-reactive; most are these days. Cover dough with a towel. Allow loaf to rise in a warm place until doubled in size, then punch down. Repeat rising process once more, if time allows.
4.) Lightly shape the dough into a circular loaf and place on a pizza stone or metal pizza sheet sprinkled with cornmeal or instant polenta. Cover the loaf with lightly oiled plastic wrapped and allow to proof for one hour. Alternatively, leave the proofing dough in the refrigerator overnight (if making the night before) or all day (if making in the morning before a long workday).
5.) Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees F. Bake loaf for 20-25 minutes, or until the bread makes a hollow sound when lightly thumped. Enjoy warm with a fabulous extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper. Ahhh, bread!
*White wheat flour is 100% whole grain, whole wheat flour. It is made from wheat, it produces a milder flavor and lighter texture.
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