Olive & rosemary focaccia

I’m sitting here this morning, enjoying some of this delicious focaccia bread with my coffee. Looking out over the back, it’s hard to believe all the activity that’s stirring out there. The raucous crows have found something in the woods to be pretty excited about. There’s a pair of bald eagles that have been circling over the house for the past couple days. And man, have those chickadees gotten loud this week!

Today is one of those days where I look around with this sense of well-being, again sure that I live in the best place on earth, and that Himself and I made the absolute right decision to pack in city life.

It’ll be an interesting contrast today, since the moment Himself gets off work, we’re headed for a whirlwind trip to the cities. I plan on stuffing my face with sushi and Greek food. Plus a quick trip to my favorite co-op to stock up on my smoked salt obsession. Besides family and friends, ethnic food is the one thing I desperately miss. So, looks like I’ll just have to get better at making it.

In the meantime, you should totally be making this focaccia bread. It’s dense and olive-y, and downright delicious. If you happen to have some of that aforementioned smoked salt, it’s going to blast this already delish bread to the next level. Use whatever olives you adore. Kalamata? Heck yeah. Plain old black olives? Oh, they’ll shine. What if I added a handful of capers? Oh, amazing! As for the rosemary, I crushed mine with my mortar and pestle, but you could roughly chop it and still die happy.

Enjoy!

Olive & rosemary focaccia

Olive & rosemary focaccia

Lightly adapted from the Perfect Baking cookbook

4 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 ½ cups water (100º-110º)
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided, plus more for oiling bowl and pans
1 cup olives, roughly chopped
1 ½ teaspoons coarse salt
2 ½ teaspoons dried rosemary, crushed or roughly chopped

In the bowl of a stand mixer with the dough hook attached, sift together flour, salt, and yeast. Add the water and 2 tablespoons olive oil. Mix on low until combined. Adjust mixer to a medium low setting, and knead until smooth (5-10 minutes). Place dough in a large oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise until doubled in size.

Oil two cookie sheets with olive oil. Punch down dough and knead on a lightly floured surface for one minute. Add olives and knead until combined. Dough will be slightly sticky. Divide dough in half and stretch on cookie sheets until you have an oval approximately 9×11 inches. Cover dough with oiled plastic wrap and let rise one hour.

Preheat oven to 400º. Remove plastic wrap, and using the end of a wooden spoon, dimple the dough. Drizzle with remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and rosemary. Bake for 35 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm with drizzled with olive oil.

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