November 19, 2021

Unforgettable Rosemary Roasted Garlic Focaccia

If there’s a recipe that makes me feel more connected to my community, it is this focaccia. This bread brought me closer to neighbors and inspired relationships near and far!

MONIQUE SOURINHO - food photographer, stylist, recipe developer, and professional taste tester. Nothing fills my cup more than connecting with like-minded people (especially over a great meal). To learn more click here.

If there’s a recipe that makes me feel more connected to my community, it is this Sesame, Rosemary Roasted Garlic Focaccia.

Somehow, learning how to make this bread brought me closer to neighbors, businesses small and large, and inspired relationships near and far.

Also, I don’t know about where you are but over here leaves are already turning! And you know what that means?? Fall baking is HERE!!

From pies to breads to comfort foods galore, I am most excited to dive back into this focaccia! It’s probably one of my favorite things to share for the fact of how many memories it accumulated (from the rounds of development, to bringing people closer, from nearly setting my apartment on fire, and overcoming trauma so I can continue to bake again… and much, much more.)

Needless to say, this bread and I go way back!

Oh! And bonus! It just happens to be vegan!

That said, to try for yourself, scroll downwards for the recipe!

(And yes, there are tips for avoiding fires in there too haha! Though, once you try, you might just forget about all your worries like I did hahaha!)


Sesame, Rosemary & Roasted Garlic Focaccia

Roasted Garlic Ingredients:

  • 9 bulbs garlic (or about 1.5 cups garlic cloves)
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly cracked black pepper

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 250°F.
  2. Separate cloves from the garlic bulbs and remove the skins as well.
  3. Transfer to a small, oven safe bowl or ramekin, then season with salt and pepper, and coat with the olive oil. (Optional: Add herbs like rosemary to further season.)
  4. Gently stir until well incorporated and cover tightly with aluminum foil or a matching lid.
  5. Place in oven and cook for two hours.
  6. When finished, use immediately and allow remainder to cool to room temperature before using or storing in the fridge.

Sesame, Rosemary Roasted Garlic Focaccia Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbs active dry yeast
  • 2 Tbs maple syrup (or sugar)
  • 2 cups warm, filtered water
  • 4 cups bread flour (give or take, depending on temperature and humidity of your environment)
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (plus 1/4 cup extra for coating)
  • 2 tsp sea salt

Toppings:

  • Roasted garlic mixture (whole cloves and garlic oil)
  • 2 Tbs fresh, chopped rosemary
  • 2 Tbs sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp finishing salt

Method:

  1. In a small bowl, combine the active dry yeast, salt, maple syrup, and water.  Mix and allow to sit for at least 5 minutes or until it froths and becomes cloudy (Also known as blooming).
  2. In a large mixing bowl, add the bread flour, bloomed yeast, and olive oil, then use a large spoon to mix the ingredients together until a shaggy dough forms. Next, use your hands to gently knead in the bowl for about about 6 minutes. The dough will be sticky. (The dough will stick to itself as you knead it. This process helps to strengthen the gluten development. You will feel the difference and transformation as you go.)
  3. Afterwards, cover the bowl with a damp towel and allow to rest for 2 hours at room temperature. After, press down the dough (to redistribute the gluten), then replace the towel for cling wrap, and transfer into the fridge. Chill for at least 12 hours (up to 72 hours) for the slow fermentation process.
  4. When ready, transfer the dough into a large, generously oiled sheet pan (preferably 12”x17” and 2” deep) and gently stretch the dough to cover the surface of the pan. Keep in mind the dough will continue to relax into the pan as it continues to rest. Allow the dough to warm to room temperature for about 2-3 hours, uncovered.
  5. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 450°F. Next, use your fingertips to gently dimple the dough, then garnish and distribute the roasted garlic cloves, garlic oil, sesame seeds, and rosemary on top. Afterwards, transfer to the middle rack of the oven to bake for 20-30 minutes, or until it golden and aromatic.  Periodically check on the bread to make sure nothing extends beyond the tray.
  6. When the focaccia is ready, remove from the oven and transfer to a cooling rack to rest for at least 15 minutes. (The trapped steam inside the bread will finish the cooking process by softening the interior as it escapes.) When ready, break bread, and enjoy!

Notes:

  • (Level Up Option) Bulk Fermentation Step: after mixing dough ingredients together, perform 4 sets of coil folds spaced 30 minutes apart for 2 hours, keeping dough covered in between folds. (Here is a great article that helps explain the why for this step.)
  • For a more cake-y crumb, use all purpose flour instead of bread flour.
  • I prefer keeping the roasted garlic cloves whole and sprinkling on top of the dough for baking, though you can blend it into a spread and pair alongside the focaccia instead. There are no limits!
  • Alternatively, you can allow to rise for 8 hours at room temperature instead of in the fridge for longer.
  • For the fastest focaccia, you can allow the dough to double at room temperature for about 1-2 hours for the first proofing, then another 1-2 hours after stretching into the pan. This is the fastest method, but the texture is not as airy, and with a “flour-y” taste. Also, the air pockets will not be as evenly distributed, resulting in an uneven crumb. Though, all in all, depending on how much time you have, or what your schedule is, there are options to plan accordingly. For instance, I appreciate the quickest focaccia when I am trying to clear out the fridge in a pinch by topping with vegetable scraps or the last bits of pickled onions!
  • For more delicious recipes to create or pair alongside, visit the Kitchen Journal.