Focaccia Bread

Well, if you know me, you know how much I love all things bread. I could never go carb-free, because, well, I love bread, pasta, cake, cookies, and basically everything in between.

I’ve had this recipe on my Pinterest board for a few years, and never got around to making it. You know how it goes. Other things to make, more exciting things. Well, finally, I decided to make this bread, and I don’t know why I waited so long!

It was a fairly easy recipe to make, the only thing that was difficult was waiting for the bread to rise! Still, it came out of the oven looking beautiful golden brown and smelling like heaven. The original recipe is here, and I didn’t change anything.

I know the weather is getting warmer, but I can’t resist baking on my days off. I guess it’s a form of stress relief. Either way, good things come of my baking, so I’ll keep at it!

Ingredients

Yield: 10-12 servings

1¾ c. warm water (110-115°F)
1 pkg. (2¼ tsp.) yeast
2 tsp. rosemary
2 tsp. thyme
1 tbsp. sugar
5¼ c. flour
1 tbsp. kosher or coarse sea salt, plus more for garnish
1 c. olive oil, divided

In a small bowl, mix the rosemary and thyme together.

In the bowl of a mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the water, yeast, half of the spices, sugar, and half of the flour. Once the mixture has started to combine, stop the mixer, and add in the remaining flour, salt, and ½ c. of olive oil. Knead for 5-6 minutes, until smooth, and transfer to a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm spot for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.

After the first rise, put the remainder of olive oil in a jelly roll pan and spread out evenly. Press the dough into the pan, using your hands to spread the dough out as evenly as possible, until it is spread out to the edges of the pan. With your fingers, create dimples all over the dough. Wrap the pan in plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm spot for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 425°F. Brush the bread with the olive oil in the pan, then sprinkle with the remaining herbs and sea salt. Bake until golden brown, 25-30 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool slightly before slicing and serving.

Sour Cream Coffee Cake

Okay friends, I apologize. I’ve always heard tell how crazy busy May and June are for teachers, and we haven’t even hit June yet and I get it! May has been a non-stop whirlwind of things going on.

I have school, which in and of itself encompasses a lot of time, planning, effort, marking, dedication, and planning. Wait…

Either way, because we are a high school, we are trying to plan 3 different end of year field trips for the various grade levels, plan and organize a graduation, finish up classes, prepare students for writing diploma exams, and to top it all off, there are renovations going on at my school right now, AND it is the middle of the job search process to see if I get to come back next year. Yeah, things are a bit crazy around my neck of the woods at the moment.

I took some time during the weekend though, to de-stress, and when I say I am “de-stressing”, that just means I’m baking. This coffee cake was exactly what I wanted, because I wanted something a little sweeter for breakfast on Saturday morning, but didn’t want the traditional waffles or pancakes. I opted for this coffee cake. It was very moist because of the sour cream in the cake batter, and Paul seemed to enjoy it as well – always a bonus!

The only thing I changed was that I actually put all the filling in the middle, and none on the bottom or top of the cake. Feel free to do that if you want, but I found that with all of the filling in the middle, the cake had a beautiful cinnamon ribbon throughout the whole cake, and I wasn’t complaining about that!

I found the original recipe here, and I really didn’t change anything else other than the filling location in the cake. The batter is thick, though, so be prepared with a good spatula. Also, true to the name, Paul and I loved this cake with a cup of coffee (or in my case, tea).

Ingredients

Yield: 1 bundt cake

For the cake:

¾ c. butter, softened
1½ c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
3 eggs
1½ c. sour cream
3 c. flour
1½ tsp. baking powder
1½ tsp. baking soda
¾ tsp. salt

For the filling:

½ c. brown sugar, packed
1½ tsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour (or brush with Miracle Cake Release) a 10-inch bundt pan. Set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together the filling ingredients, and set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar. Add in vanilla and eggs and beat until combined and smooth.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add in alternating increments the flour mixture and the sour cream to the butter mixture. Mix until just combined.

Pour half of the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle with half, or all, of the filling mixture. (Your choice – as I stated, I put all of the filling mixture in the middle.) If you only put half the filling in the middle, top with the other half of the batter, and sprinkle the remainder of the filling on top of the batter. If you put all of the filling in the middle, top with the other half of the batter.

Bake in preheated oven for 55-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 15 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to finish cooling fully.