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Keep Trying (Recipe: Rosemary Focaccia Bread)

Have you checked out my newest blog, Culinary Snapshot? I hope you will come on over, have a look, and submit your before/after photos! Check out the “behind the scenes” for this photo of Rosemary Focaccia.)

I have always had a love for writing. When I was in 3rd grade my teacher, Mrs Callahan, noticed that I had an interest in writing and gave me the encouragement I needed to want to be better at it. When I was younger, I would spend my summers typing on the typewriter, creating a family newspaper called “The Wogan Word” (Wogan is my maiden name). In high school, it was Mr. Ybarra who told me that I had talent and helped guide me to become a better writer.  My plans, for as long as I can remember, were to major in journalism once I went to college.

All it took was one teacher and one very memorable experience to knock me down and change my plans for the future. It was my senior year of high school and “Mrs H” was a full-time substitute in our honors English class. The assignment that would stop my dreams of a journalism degree in its tracks was to write a letter to a spaceship of Aliens telling them how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Sounds simple enough, right? Well, I wrote my letter and turned it in. The next day in class, “Mrs H” chose to use my paper as an example. She had me stand up and read my paper in front of the class. Apparently I did the assignment all wrong, and as I read, “Mrs H” began following my instructions, dramatically overstating each mistake I made. It was humiliating, I was humiliated and I lost my confidence and love for writing after that one simple assignment. I went on to major in Human Resources in college and completely changed the course of my professional future.

After a very long hiatus from writing pretty much anything, I began writing again a few years ago. I started first with a journal and then began blogging. Soon after, I was hired by a few places to begin writing for them. I began to let the thoughts of that nasty teacher and her rude comments dissolve in my mind and re-acquainted myself to my love of writing.

Bread baking was a similar experience for me. The first two batches of bread I ever made were awful. I clearly remember the second batch, which were clover leaf dinner rolls, turning out hard as a rock. Even our dog wouldn’t eat them. Luckily, I wasn’t as “fragile” as I was back in high school when I made my first two batches of bread. I continued to try until I got it right. The result is that my family is so spoiled now by all of my homemade bread that often times partially eaten loaves will go to waste.

If you have had a bad experience making homemade bread, don’t let a couple of failed attempts keep you from trying again. A great type of bread to help build up your confidence with is Focaccia. It is one of those breads that is quick to put on the table, easy to handle, and great to make. If you have given up on bread baking, dust off your apron and try again. Hopefully all it will take is one successful attempt and you will find out how much you love baking bread.

Rosemary Focaccia (from Cooking Light)

I actually used my bread machine to make the dough for the Rosemary Focaccia. Following the order of my ABM, I put the ingredients in and allowed the dough cycle to do all of the work!

1 1/4 cups boiling water
3 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary, divided
1 tablespoon honey
1 package dry yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1/4 cup olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon salt
Cooking spray
1 teaspoon water
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt

Combine boiling water, 1 teaspoon rosemary, and honey in a large bowl; cool to 100° to 110°. Sprinkle yeast over honey mixture; let stand 5 minutes. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Add 3 1/4 cups flour, 2 tablespoons oil, and 1 teaspoon salt to honey mixture, stirring to form a soft dough. Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic (about 10 minutes); add enough of remaining flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hands (dough will feel sticky).

Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 45 minutes or until doubled in size. (Gently press two fingers into dough. If indentation remains, dough has risen enough.) Punch dough down. Pat dough into a 14 x 12-inch rectangle on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Cover and let rise 20 minutes or until doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 350º.

Uncover dough. Make indentations in top of dough using handle of a wooden spoon or your fingertips. Combine 1 tablespoon oil, 1 teaspoon water, and egg yolk; brush over dough. Drizzle with remaining 1 tablespoon oil; sprinkle with remaining rosemary and sea salt.

Bake at 350° for 25 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from pan; cool on a wire rack.

Yield: 14 servings

CALORIES 166 (25% from fat); FAT 4.6g (sat 0.7g,mono 3g,poly 0.6g); IRON 1.7mg; CHOLESTEROL 15mg; CALCIUM 9mg; CARBOHYDRATE 27.1g; SODIUM 335mg; PROTEIN 3.9g; FIBER 1.1g

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Comments

  1. Congrats on the new blog! I love the concept and will be sure to be submitting some photos.

    Aimees last blog post..Take a Break in the Townships

  2. Mmmm. That looks good. I really enjoyed reading this post. I’ve had a similar experience with a certain teacher that I wont go into much detail other than to say, I can relate. Your bread looks fantastic!

    Deannas last blog post..Gooseberry Thumbprints and The Red Apple

  3. I do love focaccia bread. Confess to buying it at my local market :-/ so happy to have a recipe. It looks beautiful

    Jackie at PhamFatale.coms last blog post..Throwing an Elegant Dinner Party? Try Miniature Sweets

  4. I could be your TWIN! I had the exact same experience, down to the PBJ part of the assignment, in my Grade 10 Careers class. Apparently I would “not be a very good supervisor as my directions were too broad and open to interpretation”. I’m more of a sh*t disturber though and so I put up my hand and told the teacher that her instructions to “describe how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for aliens” was therefore too broad.

    Where did the aliens come from? Could they even READ English, not to mention understand what the purpose of spreading a thick, odd looking paste on a slab of white sponge before topping it with a gelatinous, colourful mixture? And aliens aside, what was she looking for as “description”? Words only or could we use diagrams? A list, or paragraph format? What was the starting location and position of the items needed, and did the intended audience need instruction on knife usage or could we take that as a given? After all, since the aliens apparently didn’t know to OPEN the jars and bag of bread, could we really trust them with basic cutlery manipulation?

    She just stared at me for a little while after that… and probably would have sent me out if the bell hadn’t rung too.

    Food-wise, it’s awesome to see someone else do the nutrition info on their posts too!! I don’t feel so weird now!Keep up the awesome work.

    Sarahs last blog post..A [Couple] Dozen Flours

  5. Oh, I am so sorry that teacher was like that. TERRIBLE! I am glad that you have decided to leave her out of your head and start writing again. You are a gifted writer!! Keep it up you hear. :)

    It is amazing how experiences move us away from something and then bring us back. My first grade teacher was horrible and as a coping mechanism and because I was so shy I completely tuned out and cheated my way through. By the time, 2nd grade came around I was WAY behind and in those days the thing to do was hold back. When in college I said, “I will never be a classroom teacher.” My first mistake to say “never”! And, well…you know how it ends…I do have my own classroom and I believe through that horrible time in life it has lead me to be the teacher I strive to be today.

  6. I found your food blog going through a few links. Glad I ran into it. Didn’t know that the food blog/recipe community was so big online. I love your posts!

    I was wondering if you would like to exchange links. I’ll drop yours on my site and you drop mine on yours. Email at ramendays@yahoo.com or stop by my site and drop a comment. Let me know if you would like to do a link exchange.

    Cheers,
    Caleb
    http://www.ramendays.com

  7. That foccacia looks amazing. The link to the new blog isn’t working for me…

    Bobs last blog post..Tuna Rangoon, a Wine Review: Alice White Red Lexia and a New Toy

  8. I love your blog! Can’t wait to try some recipes of yours out :)

    Also, I am trying to learn more about food photography, so I really appreciate the new blog you created!

    I actually just put up a post about wanting a new camera for food photography, so it was perfect for me to stumble across your sites!

    Thanks!

    Ashleys last blog post..Why I need (want) a new camera:

  9. I had a very similar experience, kinda. I was all ready to do French at University, when in my Lower Sixth (about age 17) french class I said just that, and someone piped up that there was no point and that French would be a dead language in a few years time. So I did Archaeology at University and don’t get me wrong I love my job, but my life would have been so different if I had gone on to do french.

    And I agree about the focaccia bread, it was the first bread I learnt to make after leaving home, and it is still my easiest and favourite bread to make.

    Nics last blog post..Menu Plan Monday

  10. I’m so excited, I’m making asiago focaccia tonight!!! Yay for focaccia! Rosemary & onion and asiago focaccia are my two favs. Mmm….

  11. I think anyone attempting homemade bread should know that they’ll likely have a couple of less-than-glorious results, but, like you say, once you get it right it’s so rewarding! And picking simple breads like focaccia at first is a great tip!
    This looks fantastic!

    Martas last blog post..An Ode: Peanut Butter Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust

  12. bread is a big fat weakness of mine! this post is pushing my self control to it’s limits!

    oneshotbeyonds last blog post..Tasty Tuesday: Fresh Salsa

  13. Your focaccia looks fab and your writing is witty! I’m sure Mrs. H would now be envious of your skills. Your new blog is great, so instructional. Thanks so much for stopping by my blog.

    Margies last blog post..Fish with Traditional Flavors Powdered

  14. I’ve always wanted to try homemade focaccia bread. My rosemary bush is out of control as well. Seems like it is destiny!

    Lauras last blog post..Primavera Risotto

  15. I am scared of making homemade bread… :(
    I should do like you and try until I get it! :)
    Your foccacia looks great!

    Karines last blog post..Asparagus with Sour Cream Horseradish Dip

  16. For some reason I’m willing to keep trying until I succeed with various recipes for various foods… EXCEPT for roasting a chicken. I tried it once, it was so not done at the correct time that it was basically still clucking, and now I’m completely uninclined to try again. I just know I’ll fail.

    Maybe it’s because if I make a lousy loaf of bread or a sauce that’s too spicy, it’s no big deal – just throw it out, right? Order pizza or something. But if I make undercooked chicken, WE DIIIIIEEEEEE. Dramatic!

    camilles last blog post..Good Health Natural Products Avocado Oil Chips/Humbles

  17. Syrahsuzie says:

    You have inspired me to try bread-making again. I’m bookmarking this recipe to try when the temperature gets under 30°C.

    Loved your story about your english teacher.

  18. I can’t believe a teacher would do that. How awful! I’m glad you found your way back into writing. This bread looks awesome by the way.

    Erins last blog post..Olive Oil Granola with Pistachios & Cherries

  19. Wonderful on so very many levels. Of course I’m very attuned to the effect on bread baking.
    Even if your first loaf had been wonderful and perfect, only after you’ve had your hands in multiple doughs do you get to be a good baker … bread takes time on so many levels … and that seems to be how it’s worked for you and I.

  20. What a horrible Mrs H! I used to hate those classes where i had to write essays. I wasn’t good at it at all. In my M.A I wrote many academic papars and was complimented by one of the professors I used to work with (He said he wished all his students wrote papers like I do).
    As for leftovers bread – don’t throw it away. Freeze it and/or do this: http://www.familyfriendlyfood.com/2008/10/leftover-bread-turned-into-bread-pudding-with-spiced-rum-sauce-for-dessert/

    Nurit – 1 family. friendly. food.s last blog post..Sweet summer heirloom tomatoes soup

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  1. [...] Photo Title & Recipe Link: Rosemary Focaccia [...]

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