Everybody has a list of foods that make them think of their childhood (like these orange scones I recently made), and although my mom kept her baking on the simple side for the most part, I always think of the focaccia bread she made for us any time it comes with something at a restaurant. It was actually my sister Rachel who enjoyed cooking the most in our family, so I'm pretty sure it was her who got my mom to give it a try. But either way, I was happy to eat the fruits of their labor since I'm the biggest sucker in the world for fresh bread. It gets me every time.
Last summer when my parents came to visit, I had my Mom come share her bacon cheddar pierogi recipe with you. So when they came to see our new Nashville house this week, I thought it would be fun to make some homemade bread with her to break in the new place. Bread can be really tricky for me to make (it can be really hard!), but I like that this one isn't super complicated. Even I can do it. Ready? Show us how it's done, Mom!
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 package fast acting yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
1 cup water
2 tablespoons oil (I used safflower)
1 slightly beaten egg
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon freshly chopped rosemary
course sea salt
Mix together your first four ingredients (flour, sugar, salt and yeast), but only add in 1 cup of flour and set the rest aside for later. Stir to combine. Heat your water and oil together in a pot and use a thermometer to monitor it until it hits 120-130°. Add the warm water, oil and egg to the dry ingredients and beat for 2 minutes at medium speed.
Stir in 1 1/4 cups of your remaining flour into the wet mixture. When combined, move to a floured surface and knead in another 3/4 cup of flour. You can adjust the amount that you add in when kneading based on how the dough feels. You want it to be smooth and elastic feeling rather than sticky. So add in little amounts until you get that consistency. Cover the dough with an upside down bowl and allow it to rest on the counter for 5 minutes.
Place the dough on a baking stone or greased cookie sheet and roll into a 12" circle. Loosely cover the dough first with greased plastic wrap (the greased side touching the dough), then with a cloth or dish towel and allow it to rise in a warm area (about 80-85°) for about 30 minutes until light and doubled in height.
Poke holes in your risen dough at 1" intervals and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the chopped rosemary and sprinkle with course sea salt. Bake in a 400° oven for 17-20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from stone or baking sheet immediately and let cool on wire rack.
I always think focaccia is such a pretty bread, and I love breads that have herbs sprinkled on top. Focaccia is great when it's sliced in half for sandwiches, served on the side with soup, or just plain with butter (especially when it's still warm!). We saved the bulk of the bread to eat with our dinner that night, but we couldn't resist sneaking in a few buttered slices while it was still hot. My dad's not really into bread, so it's pretty obvious where my carb obsession comes from—thanks, Mom!
If you're in need of a freshly baked bread fix, I would totally suggest you give this one a try soon! xo. Laura
Credits // Author: Laura Gummerman, Photography: Laura Gummerman and Todd Gummerman. Photos edited with the A Beautiful Mess actions.