Focaccia al Rosmarino

This scrumptious and savory flat bread with a porous and tender crumb is infused and slathered with Extra Virgin Olive Oil and topped with Fresh Rosemary, Coarse Sea Salt, and the best imported Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese you can find. Focaccia al Rosmarino is delicious alone as a snack or appetizer with a glass of wine or served as accompaniment to a full meal.

Focaccia (pronounced “fuh-KA-cha”) is a type of Italian yeast bread baked as a flat sheet or in disk. The name comes from the Latin ‘focacia‘ meaning hearth or fireside. The Focaccia dough is deeply flavored with extra virgin olive oil and topped with more extra virgin olive oil coarse sea salt, cheese,  herbs and sometimes other vegetables. Common focaccia bread toppings include olives, mushrooms, onions, potatoes, or tomatoes. After the dough proofs, the baker brushes a generous amount of extra virgin olive oil and then uses their fingertips to dimple the entire surface of the focaccia dough. The focaccia dough is then topped lightly with coarse salt, cheese, and herbs, frequently rosemary is used.

The Focaccia Toppings – Use the Best!

You can’t make great tasting food from ingredients that are not of the best quality. This is a perfect opportunity to visit your local specialty food store or Italian Market to check out the Coarse Sea Salt, Extra Virgin Olive Oils and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheeses they have to offer. Ask for a taste and suggestions from the staff at the deli counter or owners.  Here in the Detroit Metro Area we are lucky to have wonderful imported food emporiums like Zingerman’s Deli, Zingerman’s Creamery, and Cantoro’s Italian Market.

What is a “Poolish?” aka (Biga or Preferment)

Italian bakers use a stiff preferment known as a biga in Italy. This recipe uses a poolish which uses equal weight of flour and water making the hydration at 100%. This process of fermenting flour, water and a very small amount of yeast for an 8 to 10 hour period before incorporating it into the final dough develops the natural sweetness of the flour without the use of any refined sugar or sweetener in the final bread. The poolish also develops the final texture of the crumb and helps to preserve the bread by making it less perishable. To make the poolish is short work for the baker. Combine the water, flour, and yeast, beat to combine, cover and let ferment for 8 to 10 hours. You, the baker will be rewarded with amazing flavor and texture in your bread for just a few minutes of your time the night or morning before you plan to bake this bread.

As with all baking recipe I recommend you weigh the ingredients for the Focaccia al Rosmarino. Weighing ensures you have a consist dough each and every time. As a baker we are always striving to remove any variables from the process of baking.

The full instructional video for Focaccia al Rosmarino is at the bottom of this blog post. Follow this link to “LIKE” and “SUBSCRIBE” to my YouTube Channel “Just One Bite, Please?”

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Equipment: (Shop my Amazon Page for Ingredients & Equipment)

Focaccia

Poolish (Preferment) – Mix 8 to 10 hours before mixing the final dough

  • Measured          Grams             Ingredients
  • 1 cup                       227 g.            Water (room temperature)
  • 1-1/2 cup                227 g.            All-Purpose Flour (unbleached, unbromated)
  • 1/4 tsp.                 1/4 tsp.            Instant Yeast

Mixing the Poolish (Preferment)

  1. In a mixing bowl, combine the water, instant yeast, and all-purpose flour
  2. Mix the ingredients with a rubber spatula to combine and then beat well.
  3. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and clean off the spatula.
  4. Cover with plastic wrap (cling film) and let ferment at room temperature 68º-74ºF (20º-23ºC) for 8 to 10 hours.

Final Dough

  • Measured          Grams             Ingredients
  • 2-½ cup                   454 g.           Poolish (from above)
  • ½ cup                      113 g.           Water (room temperature)
  • ½ tsp.                          2 g.            Instant Yeast
  • 1/3 cup                     70 g.            Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2-½ cups                340 g.            All Purpose Flour (unbleached, unbromated)
  • 1-½ tsp.                    14 g.            Sea Salt (fine)

Mixing the dough:

  1. Combine the water with the fermented poolish and scrape the bowl to loosen the poolish.
  2. Pour the poolish into a large mixing bowl and add the olive oil, instant yeast, and half of the all-purpose flour.
  3. Mix using a rubber spatula to incorporate the ingredients and then beat until a smooth batter forms.
  4. Add the remaining all-purpose flour and sea salt and fold to combine.
  5. Mix until the dough becomes a shaggy mass.
  6. Scrape down the bowl and scrape off the rubber spatula with a plastic scrape and turn the dough onto the work surface.
  7. Knead the dough together for 2 to 3 minutes to incorporate the ingredients. The dough will be sticky. Do not add any flour to the work surface.”
  8. Continue to knead the dough for 6 to 8 minutes or until the dough is strong and elastic.
  9. Round the dough into a ball.
  10. Spray a bowl with non-stick spray or oil and place the dough into the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap.
  11. Ferment the dough for 1 hour at room temperature 68ºF-74ºF (20ºC-23ºC)
  12. After 1 hour, uncover the dough.
  13. Lightly oil the work surface with Extra Virgin Olive Oil and turn the dough onto the oiled work surface.
  14. Degas the dough and stretch and fold the dough.
  15. Place the folded dough back into the bowl and cover with plastic wrap.
  16. Ferment the dough 1 hour at room temperature 68ºF-74ºF (20ºC-23ºC)

Pre-heat the oven and Baking Stone to 475ºF (246ºC) 1 hour before baking the focaccia

Equipment:

Pre-shaping, Final Shaping, and Baking the Focaccia:

  1. Place a 1/2-sheet of parchment paper on the cutting board.
  2. Sprinkle the parchment paper with cornmeal and then set aside until needed.
  3. After the dough has fermented 1 hour. Lightly oil the work surface with Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
  4. Uncover the dough and turn it onto the oiled work surface.
  5. Degas the and press the dough into a 10” x 16” (25 cm x 40 cm) rectangle.
  6. Fold the short sides into the center of the dough.
  7. Fold and pinch the seams together to seal the dough.
  8. Turn the dough over and lightly press into a 8” x 12” (20 cm x 30 cm) rectangle.
  9. Place the dough onto the cornmeal coated parchment paper.
  10. Stretch and press to reform the dough into the 8” x 12” (20 cm x 30 cm) rectangle if necessary.
  11. Loosely cover the dough with plastic wrap.
  12. Proof the focaccia for 1 hour at room temperature 68ºF-74ºF (20ºC-23ºC) or until the dough holds an indentation from your finger tip.
  13. After 1 hour, uncover the focaccia and brush the top with Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
  14. Use your fingertips, press and dimple the surface of the focaccia to expand the focaccia into a 10” x 14” (25 cm x 35 cm) rectangle.
  15. Sprinkle the top of the focaccia with the coarse sea salt and the grated Parmesan cheese.
  16. Use the bakers peel and slide the focaccia onto the preheated baking stone.
  17. Bake the focaccia at 475ºF (246ºC) for 20 to 24 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Turn the focaccia during baking if necessary to get even browning.
  18. Remove the focaccia from the oven and place on a wire cooling rack.
  19. Immediately brush the baked focaccia with Extra Virgin Olive Oil and sprinkle the top with the chopped rosemary.
  20. Cool the focaccia for 20 minutes before cutting and eating.
  21. Enjoy!

Note: The Focaccia is best eaten within 3 days from the bake date. Store the Focaccia wrapped in plastic at room temperature or freeze. Thaw to room temperature and reheat in the oven to enjoy.

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42 thoughts on “Focaccia al Rosmarino

  1. John

    Hi Alejandro, my question is about the olive oil; my wife is allergic to it and i wonder if something else could be used, i.e. grapeseed or peanut?

    1. Alejandro Ramon

      Hello John, Yes, feel free to use what ever oil or even clarified butter if you like on the focaccia.

    1. Alejandro Ramon

      Hello Zaynab,
      Yes, you can. Double the amount by weight and make sure to proof the active dry yeast with a portion of water from the recipe. The water needs to be between 100℉ to 110℉ in order to activate the yeast properly. Once combined it should take about 10 minutes to see if the yeast is activated and becomes foamy and bubbly. Please let me know if you have any other questions.

  2. bonz

    hi i do food tech at GCSE level and i want to make a focacica as it represents Italy by chosen country. i have about 2 and a half hours and cannot prove the dough 3 times is there a way around this or not. i can make the biga overnight though. also any tips i tried to make a cibatta last week it was not great. thanks

    1. Alejandro Ramon

      Hello Bonz,
      I’m more than happy to help you with your GCSE baking project.
      I would recommend fermenting the final dough (step 11 “Mixing the Dough) for 1 hour then move right into the steps for the Pre-Shaping, Final Shaping, and Baking in the recipe. This will still provide enough structure in the dough for an open crumb. I would not recommend using Strong Bread Flour as this makes the baked focaccia tougher and chewier rather than crisp and tender. Use All-Purpose or its equivalent for this recipe.
      Could you share your recipe (weight measurement) and the directions you followed for the Ciabatta? This would be helpful to me to evaluate the process you followed and proportions of the ingredients in Baker’s Percentages.
      I’m looking forward to being able to help you on your quest.
      Best,
      Alejandro Ramon

      1. bonz

        Thank you for replying. I used a recipe on goodfood i made the biga and followed the steps but i reliase from what u have said that i should not of used strong bread flour. Thanks
        If i made the biga 24 hours in advanced would it taste nicer and be more Soft?

        1. Alejandro Ramon

          Hello Bonz,

          The biga (poolish) can be made 24 in advance. Note: The flavor of the preferment will start to become more sour beyond this time and does not effect the texture or tenderness of the focaccia. Creating a preferment allows the enzymes to convert the complex starches in the flour and turn them into simple sugars. The small amount of yeast isn’t able to consume this excess food which in turn creates the natural sweetness of the flour for us to enjoy. The optimal time is between 8 to 10 hours for this to occur at room temperature.

          After reviewing the recipe for the Ciabatta you use. I found the hydration (water to flour) of the dough is only 66%. This level of hydration will produce a bread that has a more consistent crumb structure like my Italian Peasant Bread, rather than an open irregular crumb. Doughs like Ciabatta should have a hydration of 76% or higher to produce the desired final crumb structure.

          Have you or will you cover Bakers Percentages in your course work?

          If you would like the recipe for ciabatta please email me at justonebiteplease@hotmail.com

          Please let me know what else I can help you with.

          Thank you,

          Alejandro Ramon, Just One Bite, Please?

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