When I said I was serious about eating nothing about salad, I don’t think Martin quite got the hint. But oh. I was serious. Somewhat.

The first night home, I made ham sandwiches on warm rolls … and served it with a salad tossed with avocado cubes and tomatoes.

The second night, I did a twist on the same old and made shrimp avocado salad. Most recipes call for it to be served as is, but I put it over leafy greens. And I liked it that way. I’ll post that recipe later. For now, I’ll devote myself to my rosemary focaccia bread.

The recipe is the same as one previously used (from the Gourmet cookbook) but tasted so different. I like to think that this is due to the fact that I have now made yeasty things several times now and have since learned a thing or two. And here’s what I learned, put to good use:

The notes call for the dough to be fairly soupy but mine was extremely firm. So firm, I had my doubts and added a little bit of water after all the flour had been added.

That leads to my first mistake – the recipe makes it seem like all the flour should be added at once. After all the bread I’ve recently made, I should have known better. I did add only 3 cups at first, but noticed that it was rather gloppy and so dumped in the next 2 cups. Big mistake. Next time, I will add 4 cups and then add a tbsp. at a time until my desired consistency is reached.

I boldly forged ahead with my shaggy ball of dough and stuck it in a bowl and placed it in a corner to rise. Then I promptly forgot about it. Which I think was a good thing, as it gave the dough lots (and LOTS!) of time to rise. Then I again gave it plenty of time to rise after I’d stretched it out into the baking pan.

I’m quite pleased with the result. The bread was soft and light. The only downside is that I had to use dried rosemary, rather than fresh, and that I was a little sprinkle-happy with the salt. I think I could have cut back on that and been fine.

It was so soft and chewy last night and is still soft and somewhat chewy, though less so today. It held up fairly well, however, and I am pleased as punch with these results.

I have included the recipe again, as this time I made (minor) tweaks to it that I thought I should share.

Rosemary Focaccia Bread

1-2/3 cups warm water
1 pkt. active yeast
1 pinch sugar
5 cups unbleached AP flour
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tsp. salt

3 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. fresh chopped rosemary
1 tsp. salt

1- Heat water up and let cool to 105 – 115 degrees F. When water is around this temperature, combine sugar, 1 pkt. yeast and water in mixing bowl. Let sit for 5 minutes, until foamy.

2- Add olive oil and salt to yeast. With paddle attachment, beat in approximately 4 cups of flour. Switch to dough hook and mix on low until a ball of dough forms. If dough is too “wet” (not sticking well to the dough hook), add more flour 1 tbsp. at a time. If dough is too dry (not sticking to the bowl), add a little more water. Do not add more than 5 cups of flour total. Beat until dough ball is smooth and elastic.

3- Lightly grease large bowl. Place dough into bowl and turn to coat with oil. Place in warm, draft-free place and let rise for approximately 1 hour or until doubled in bulk, whichever happens last.

4- Turn out onto lightly greased baking sheet and stretch to fit sheet. Cover and let rise for approximately 1 hour or until doubled in bulk, whichever happens last.

5- Preheat oven to 425-degrees. Make shallow indentations on dough with fingers. Combine olive oil and rosemary together and brush over top of dough, letting it pool in the pockets.

6- When heated, place dough in and cook until crust is golden brown, approximately 20 – 25 minutes. Remove from oven and immediately invert onto cooling rack.

Servings: 8

The recipe did say olive oil should be a-poolin’ in the indentations. So this is what they meant, right?

Yummy, nice and golden.

And check out that crumb. Excellent!