For those of you who don’t know me, my life is all about the new experience. Sometimes those goals are adventurous, sometimes educational and sometimes creative. I am well aware that baking my first loaf of bread doesn’t fit into the “so scary I might poop my pants” category. But, it was still something I had never done before and that makes it exciting to me.
There is an art to creating the perfect artisan bread; proofing the yeast properly, the rising of the dough ball and having the correct elasticity for success. It involves a lot of patience and consistency. I chose to create a Rosemary Focaccia loaf which is an ancient type of flat bread. It was close to perfection on my first try, I swear that never happens. Yes, that slapping you hear is me patting myself on the back. After my bread was baked I created a “Margarita” style pizza which made for the perfect lunch.
2 tsp rapid-rising yeast
1 cup warm water (110-120 degrees)
2 Tbls sugar
4 cups flour
2 Tbls water
1 Tbls salt
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tsp fresh rosemary
In the bowl of a mixer combine yeast, water and sugar. Gently stir until it dissolves. Let stand until foam appears, about 3 minutes. With the dough hook attachment slowly add flour on low speed. Dissolve salt in 2 Tbls of water and add to mix. Add olive oil and rosemary. When the dough has pulled together, is smooth and elastic, put it on a work surface and knead into a dough ball.
Place ball in an oiled bowl, coating the dough will oil too, and cover with plastic or a damp cloth. Let rise for 45 minutes in a warm place. Once the dough has doubled stretch into an oblong shape onto an oiled sheet pan, cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 15 minutes. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bake bread for 15-20 minutes on bottom rack.