October 25, 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
  • 1.5 Tbs honey (or sugar)
  • 2 cups warm, filtered water
  • 4.5-6 cups bread flour (give or take, depending on temperature and humidity of your environment)
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (plus 1/4 cup extra for coating the bowl and tray)
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • Roasted garlic mixture
  • 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, honey and water.  Mix and allow to sit for at least 5 minutes or until it begins to froth and become cloudy (AKA blooming).
  2. In a separate, large mixing bowl, add the extra virgin olive oil. When the yeast blooms, give another stir and pour into the bowl.  Add 3 cups of the bread flour and stir until it dampens the flour, then add another cup or two to form a shaggy dough. (It will feel sticky at first but trust the process!)
  3. Transfer the dough to a large, floured surface, and use extra flour if needed to bring the dough together. Knead for about 9-12 minutes or until the dough becomes elastic and does not break as easily when stretching and working it. It should be able to stick to itself while still being a little tacky.  (This is how you strengthen the gluten development. You will feel the difference and transformation as you go.  Alternatively, you can use a stand mixer with a dough hook.)
  4. Afterwards, pour olive oil into a separate, large mixing bowl to coat. (The bowl should be large enough to account for the dough doubling, even tripling in size.) Brush the oil inside of the bowl, upwards to the edges, to prevent the dough from sticking too much.
  5. After brushing, place the dough into the bowl, gently flip, and coat the top of the dough with oil as well.  Cover the bowl with cling wrap and set in the fridge for 12-15 hours, or until it doubles in size and are ready to use it.
  6. Transfer the dough into a large, olive-oil coated sheet pan that is at least 12”x17” and 2” deep (a large sheet cake pan works great too!) and gently stretch the dough to fill the pan, allowing a little space between the edges, (since it will fill out as it rests). Let the dough warm up to room temperature (about 2-3 hours)
  7. When you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 450°F and make sure the rack your are placing the pan of bread on is centered, on a middle rack.
  8. Next, use your fingers to gently dimple the dough, then distribute the roasted garlic mixture on top (garlic oil included) of the dough. (The generous use of the oil is what transforms the crust into a beautifully golden hue!)
  9. Afterwards, sprinkle the rosemary and sesame seeds, then garnish with finishing salt.
  10. Transfer to the oven and bake for 20-30 minutes or until golden brown and fragrant.  Be sure to periodically check on the bread to make sure nothing extends beyond the tray.
  11. When the bread is cooked all the way through, remove from oven and transfer the focaccia to a cooling rack for a few minutes. The steam will continue and finish the baking process as it help soften the inside as it rests as well. (Optional: Brush melted butter on top in the meantime.)
  12. When ready, slice, share, and most importantly, enjoy!

N O T E S :

  • Alternatively, for a quicker focaccia, you can allow the dough to rest at room temperature for 3-4 hours for the first proofing time instead of in the fridge, and after stretching into the pan, allow to rise for another 3-4 hours before dimpling and adding toppings.

  • 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 it will be more dense, 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 or jalapeños!

  • For more delicious recipes to create or pair alongside, visit the Kitchen Journal.