Garlic and Rosemary Italian Focaccia Bread Appetizer
Although bread is fairly simple sounding it is a very good choice for an appetizer. Think about it who doesn’t like a nice piece of warm bread fresh from the oven and what if we put herbs and olive oil in it or even garlic am I starting to open your eyes that this at first sounds like an oh you must be kidding thing to ah that does sound great kind of thing. I know I love fresh baked bread and in fact my husband’s favorite restaurant would serve these piping hot fresh from the oven breadsticks with melted butter and garlic that made you almost forget you had a meal coming kind of good.
I mean who can say they honestly don’t like a fresh hot chewy piece of artisan bread. Now when you stop to think about it this is sounding like a better appetizer idea by the minute. I mean you can smell it cooking in your mind already, can’t you? Tell me what your guest first response to walking into your house with the smell of fresh bread baking would be? Tell me they will not instantly be put in a mood you want at your party or dinner party.
I know one of the favorite times a day is when my oldest is making fresh bread like he does almost every day and in fact on off days something seems vacant in the house without that smell lofting through it. This is a great recipe if you are looking for a nice bread to serve to guest that will make them in the mood you want from the time they enter the house until the time they leave. I bet a few even ask for some after dinner. This recipe has all kinds of possibilities once you get the basic focaccia down you can really very up the toppings mine are only a traditional set of place to begin in fact try a few different ideas and see which one goes over best then make others that way and you’ll have a major crowd pleaser on your hands.
- 1½ cups bread flour
- 1½ teaspoons dry yeast, fast action
- 1 cup water 105 degrees to 109 degrees F.
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- 6 fresh sprigs rosemary
- 1 teaspoon dried sweet basil
- 1 teaspoon granulated garlic, (optional)
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Red onion, thinly sliced, (optional)
- Sea salt, coarse ground
- Fresh cracked black pepper, (optional)
- In a stand mixer attach the dough hook and to this add the flour along with the salt. In a separate bowl activate the yeast by adding it to the water (should be between 105 degrees F. and 109 degrees F.) and the sugar give a gentle whisk to blend and let it activate for ten minutes.
- On a slow speed carefully add the water yeast mixture to the flour mixture and allow this along with your olive oil to mix until it forms a soft dough.
- Remove the dough to a floured surface (stone counters work excellent for this) and knead the dough for a minute adding floor if necessary kneed another four minutes or so add enough flour so the dough is not to sticky and becomes elastic.
- Transfer to a glass bowl and cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise until the dough doubles in size about an hour or so a warm dark place is best like under the cabinets.
- When doubled kneed it again to knock it down in size for about a minute.
- Place on a floured or cornmealed baking stone and roll it out until you have a long thin dough similar to a pizza crust,
- Cover with a thin coating of olive oil and place a sheet of plastic wrap over the top and place somewhere warm for about twenty minutes until the size doubles.
- With your finger tip dipped in a little oil dimple the surface by poking your finger into the dough cover again ad leave it for an additional two minutes.
- While you are waiting preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.
- Remove the plastic wrap and sprinkle with rosemary, basil, salt and pepper, and red onion if using and put it in the oven to bake about twenty to twenty-five minutes until a golden brown.
- Remove from oven and allow it to slightly cool on a backing rack and then serve while still warm.
If you want a simple yet very traditional Italian appetizer to serve at your next party or dinner party then you may want to consider this very easy yet taste traditional focaccia bread. It can be served with marinara sauce or olive oil for dipping if you like and there are a lot of different combinations of things you can substitute out for finishing touches from other herb combinations, to cheese and even some meats. It is a wonderfully versatile appetizer that is just a nice treat that will not be hard to make but is a very nice start to a meal or even as a party appetizer.
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