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.

Sourdough Crackers


Hello friends! Sorry for the silence around this part of the internet lately. It’s been a little hectic to say the least. With all the marking, planning, et cetera that comes with being a teacher, this past month I’ve been finding it a little hard to make time for baking at all!

I have these crackers, that I decided to make on a whim because I knew that I needed to use my sourdough starter. I hate to throw the discard part of the starter away, so I’m always on the hunt for new recipes to try using the discard starter.

Of course, I was browsing through Pinterest this morning, trying to figure out what to use my starter for, and these crackers jumped out at me. I’m not sure why, but I was drawn to them. They looked good. They sounded good. I had to try them. It also didn’t hurt that they had a five-star rating on the original recipe, found here. I did change one thing. The original recipe called for butter, but of all the 5 star reviews left on these crackers, so many reviewers said to use oil instead. I took their advice, and they worked out beautifully.

So, if you think that homemade crackers are too complicated, you are wrong! I have made homemade graham crackers in the past (which I need to do again and put on here!), and these crackers took me all of 10 minutes to mix together. After that, you chill the dough, roll, top, cut and bake. Sounds complicated, but very easy. I promise.

**As an update, I have made these crackers quite a few times now, and I have tried various different combinations of herbs and seasoning. Just adding salt for a plain sourdough cracker works well, as does salt and pepper, and adding in shredded cheese to the dough to make cheese crackers. The options are limitless! I have heard (haven’t made them yet, but plan to!) that cinnamon sugar, and garlic and parmesan is also good on or in these crackers! Experiment and have fun!**

Let’s get cracking!

(Sorry… I couldn’t resist…)

Ingredients

Yield: Approx. 100 crackers

1 c. flour (can use Whole Wheat flour)
1 c. unfed sourdough starter
½ tsp. salt
¼ c. olive oil (or butter)
2 tbsp. dried herb of choice (I used rosemary)

Mix together the flour, starter, salt, oil and herbs until a cohesive dough forms. Split dough into two halves. Pat down into even rectangles, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill at least 30 minutes (or longer), until dough is firm.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

*Rolling out the dough for the crackers can be done two ways – pasta rollers or rolling pin. I will put instructions for both ways.*

If using pasta rollers, lightly flour pasta rollers and pass one piece at a time through the rollers on setting 1. If you want a thinner cracker, go to setting 2 or 3. Place on a piece of parchment paper on a cutting board.

If using a rolling pin, place a piece of parchment paper on your work surface, then lightly flour the parchment, your rolling pin, and the top of the dough. Roll the dough out to about 1/16″ thick. Try to get it as even as you can. Transfer the parchment paper to a cutting board.

Lightly brush the rolled dough with olive oil and coarse salt (sea salt, kosher or flake salt works), and prick the dough all over, evenly, with a fork.

Cut the dough into 1¼ inch squares. Using a pizza wheel works well.

Bake the crackers for 13-20 minutes, turning to prevent over-browning. Take them out when the crackers begin to brown around the edges. Transfer to a cooling rack, and store in an airtight bag for 1 week or freeze.