Just when I thought a good ol'crusty homemade bread couldn't taste any better, along comes this soft and garlicky focaccia that is not only delicious but is also surprisingly versatile as well! While able to stand alone with it's favorite sidekick, a stick of real butter for the win, this focaccia can also be used as a thick pizza dough in a casserole dish, or loaded with other fresh herbs, cheeses and a variety of cut veggies to create flower designs, etc for a more elaborate presentation. The skies the limit for how creative you choose to be!
But either as is with fresh rosemary and garlic, or a more intense creation, the basic recipe is the true star of this show. And as if we weren't lucky enough, it's also an easy recipe as well!
Got your butter ready?
(Serving size: Should be a serving of 9 equal squares but.. if you choose not to share, this just became a 1 serving size recipe. No judgement here. You do you. I get it.)
3 cups warm water
2 tbsp instant dry yeast
1/4 cup sugar
7 1/2 cups all-purpose flour + more for your surface
2 tsp kosher salt
12-15 garlic cloves
1 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp kosher salt
4 tbsp olive oil + 4 tbsp more for drizzle
1/2 cup fresh Rosemary leaves
2 tsp kosher salt
Let's get started!
There are a few different ways to roast your garlic. You can slice the top off of the bulb of garlic, drizzle it in olive oil, wrap tightly in tin foil and roast in the oven at 400 degrees for 30-40 minutes. Or there's my preferred way, otherwise known as "garlic confit", because the aroma of this garlic on your stovetop is not just life changing but it also creates a buttery, slightly caramelized clove that melts in your mouth.
To make the garlic confit:
In a small skillet, add your garlic cloves and olive oil, along with a 1/2 tsp salt. Simmer over medium heat for approximately 15 minutes or until the cloves are soft. Do not over cook. Remove from heat and allow to cool. This confit can also be used to make garlic pastes for pizzas and a variety of other uses. It also make an incredible garlic olive oil that will last for a month in your refrigerator if stored in a mason jar. So feel free to double to make extra for future recipes!
To make the Focaccia:
First we are going to combine the warm water and yeast into your mixer. Allow to sit for 10 minutes until the yeast becomes foamy, like this.
In a separate bowl, combine sugar, 7 1/2 cups flour and 2 tsp salt and whisk together until well blended.
Add the dry ingredients to the foamy yeast & warm water and mix together until mixture is thoroughly blended into a soft dough. Place the dough on to a floured surface and lightly sprinkle with flour to keep the dough from sticking to your hands. Knead the dough until smooth, about 5 minutes.
Form into a ball.
Add 4 tbsp olive oil to a bowl and spread evenly with a pastry brush.
Add the dough to the bowl and coat all sides of the dough with oil.
Cover with saran wrap and allow to rise in a warm place until it doubles in size, approximately 1 1/2 hours.
Once the dough is doubled in size, "punch down" the center of the dough.
Press the dough evenly into a well oiled casserole dish, drizzle with 4 tbsp olive oil and sprinkle with rosemary. Let rise for an additional 1 hour, covered with a towel.
Once the dough has risen, use your fingers to punch holes in the dough, or "dimple the dough", like this.
Add your cooled and softened garlic cloves by pressing them gently into the dough. Generously sprinkle with kosher salt and brush with additional garlic olive oil from your confit.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Bake the Focaccia for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown on the top.
Cut into generous portions and serve with a slab of creamy butter or a nice extra-virgin olive oil for dipping.
Lawdy help us. Absolutely delicious!!! Enjoy!!!
As always, let me know what you think of my recipe and please feel free to share your pictures to social media if you liked it!
It's always fun to see what everyone is making!
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Have a blessed day and remember... if you ever get lost, faith, love, family and a healthy dose of southern cooking will always lead you back home.
Michele E. Mathews