This Rosemary Focaccia With Black Olives and Onion may be the last bread recipe you will ever need!
My first indication was when a delivery man at the door swooned and asked me what I was cooking! Baking bread always smells so homey and welcoming so I just thought it was nice of him to mention it.
Then I took it along to Soup and Salad dinner where our Guys and Dolls trivia team were gathering before ‘game time’. Not only does it look really yummy but it went so well with the soup and salad. It definitely got rave reviews. (Thanks Matt and Carrie (spelling? sorry Keri, Karry…)
BTW… despite a heroic effort on our part we didn’t show as well as we have in previous years. I like to think it was due to some technicalities – like we knew the answer was Meghan and Harry’s baby Archie… but we never dreamed they wanted all 5 of his names!!! I am not even sure Meghan and Harry know what their last name currently is with all the royal upheaval this year…. And don’t get me started on the Disney PLUS streaming channel. Sigh…. this may sound a bit like sour grapes but we really did have fun!
But back to the bread – this makes one very large loaf or a 10X 13″ rectangle. You could split the large round loaf into 2 smaller loaves that would still be substantial. See the notes for baking variations.
What makes this Rosemary Focaccia With Black Olives and Onion so good you ask?
First, it has the nicest, soft crumb, as opposed to the more rustic crumb of this No Knead Rosemary Garlic Bread, which is delicious – but more rustic and dense)
Second, the olives and onion topping sprinkled with coarse sea salt delivers a great flavour hit.
Third it is very versatile- you can use it in a sandwich, as a hunk of bread to accompany aforesaid soups and salads or as a dipping bread with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
I used the instant rise yeast and the dough cycle on my bread machine but I will include instructions for hand kneading as a variation.
For the olives in the topping, to easily pit black olives, crush each olive lightly with the broad edge of a Chef’s knife. The pit will easily pop out. Discard the pits and chop the olive flesh.
When the dough comes out of the bread machine it is still quite sticky so oil your hands lightly with olive oil so you can shape the loaf to the desired format.
If you want to give this a Greek twist use either fresh or dried oregano instead of the rosemary.
The topping ingredients are designed for the surface of one large loaf. Double them if you choose to make the 10 X 13″ rectangle.
Freeze any part of the loaf you will not consume by the following day. With no preservatives homemade bread will go stale much faster than commercial bread (Have you seen the ingredients in commercial white bread???)
12black olivespitted and chopped, preferably packed in oil
Coarse sea salt for garnish
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Warm water 1 minute on high in the microwave. Remove 1 Tbsp of water and then replace it with the Tbsp of olive oil.
Combine flour, salt and dried rosemary in a large bowl and stir well to mix evenly.
Add ingredients to your bread machine in the order recommended by your manufacturer. Mine is liquid, dry ingredients, yeast. Start your machine on the Dough cycle.
When dough cycle has finished, oil your hands with a bit of olive oil. Oil a 10" ovenproof skillet with 1/2 Tbsp of olive oil. Shape the dough into a disc and center in the skillet. Cover and allow dough to rise about 25 minutes in a warm place.
While dough is resting preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Using your fingers make indentations evenly around the top of the loaf. Mix onion, olive and rosemary together for the topping. Brush the top with 1 Tbsp of olive oil and sprinkle the olive, onion mixture evenly over the surface. Sprinkle coarse sea salt over the top of the loaf.
Bake for 30-35 minutes until the top is golden brown and the loaf sounds hollow when you tap it. Alternatively, use an instant read thermometer. Insert probe to the center of the loaf (use an indentation so it doesn't mar the look of the bread). Loaf should read a minimum of 180 degrees F and up to 190 degrees.
Remove from oven and allow loaf to cool for several minutes. Remove loaf from skillet to finish cooling.
Variation 1- If using regular yeast (not instant) you will need to give it 2 rises. The first rise should be 1 1 /2 hours. Punch it down and knead lightly and allow it to rise another 45 minutes. Shape the loaf, allow it to rest another 25 minutes, top and bake.
Variation 2- If making a 10 X 13" rectangle oil a sheet pan after the final rise, Press the dough out to the desired size and allow to rest about 25 minutes. Double the topping ingredients listed above. Brush with oil and spread the toppings. Bake at 475 degrees about 20 minutes.
Variation 3- If making 2 smaller loaves, position loaves on oiled baking sheet or in smaller oiled skillets. Allow loaves to rest 25 minutes, brush with oil, spread the toppings and bake at 400 degrees 20-25 minutes until top is golden and loaf is hollow to the tap or reaches 180 degrees on instant read thermometer.
Variation 4 -If hand kneading, knead on a floured surface for approximately 10 minutes until dough is smooth and elastic. It will start off sticky so add 1 Tbsp of flour at a time as you are kneading until it is no longer sticky.