Home > Side Dishes, Vegetarian > Focaccia Darn It, Eat Your Dinner!

Focaccia Darn It, Eat Your Dinner!


As a parent of three children ages seven and under, I usually get asked if my kids truly eat every dinner I make.   My kids are not the norm when it comes to eating, and it tickles me.  Their idea of a snack is a “big, juicy carrot”, known as BJC’s in our household.  Their favorite vegetables are asparagus, broccoli and anything with any type of beans in it.  I don’t know about you, but I feel a sense of happiness when my kids eat all of their food.   It is a strange, peaceful feeling, like nature is telling you, “Congrats Mom, you just nourished their little bodies with healthy food.  Job well done”.

But there are days when they don’t eat.  And it really ticks me off when it is something I know they like.  Tonight I made focaccia bread, a favorite in the household.  Usually it just has rosemary and garlic, but for some reason a little voice in my head said, “Put something else on it – like tomatoes…yeah tomatoes sound good”.   The kids barely ate it, along with the salad and veggies with dip.   Since it was just us, I thought it would be fun do something as not quite the typical dinner.  Oh well, at least I enjoyed it!

I have been making this recipe for a few years now, from who else but the queen of Italian food, Julia Child. Sounds crazy but true.  Start to finish, it only takes 2 1/2 hours, and a majority of that is rise time.  It’s quite easy and who doesn’t like fresh bread?

IMG_1674

1 package (a smidge less than 1 Tbs) dry yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 tsp salt
3 or more slightly more cups flour
2 1/2 tsp olive oil
cornmeal
For the topping:
1/2 to 3/4 tsp kosher salt (I prefer sea salt)
2 large garlic cloves, peeled and cut into slivers
1 large sprig fresh rosemary (dried doesn’t work as well, but if you must, 1 Tbs dried)

Put the yeast in a measuring cup and pour 1/4 cup of the warm water over it.  Let stand a few minutes and stir. Transfer the yeast to the bowl of a standing mixer.  Add the remaining water, salt, and 2 1/2 cups of the flour.  Mix with the paddle for about 2 minutes. Add another 1/2 cup flour and blend again until the flour is absorbed. The dough will more moist than the usual bread dough.
      Scrape the dough out onto a well-floured work surface and with floured hands knead lightly for only a dozen times and then plop it into a large bowl that has been greased with 1/2 tsp olive oil. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let the dough rise until doubled, about an hour to two depending on how warm your kitchen is.
       Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and generously sprinkle cornmeal over the center of a standard sized baking sheet.  Turn the dough onto a floured surface and start patting it into an oval shape.  Move it to the prepared sheet and distribute remaining olive oil on top of the bread, using your fingers makes this easier.  Now continue the stretch and pat the dough until you have a 10 inch oval.  Sprinkle the coarse salt over the surface of the dough and insert the slivers of garlic at intervals all over the surface, using a knife to cut little slits in the bread.  Go back over the slits and insert the rosemary.  (If you would like other toppings, like oven roasted tomatoes, get creative and go for it!)  Let the dough rest for 15 minutes, then bake for 25 minutes and serve while warm.

On Deck:  It’s time to euthanize my basil…do I hear pesto?

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