I am definitly a carb addict. Going out to eat anywhere for me quickly becomes a bread/tortilla/roll/popcorn fest with a side of Diet Coke and an obligatory entree that inevitably goes home in a paper bag. Italian, Mexican, and American-style restaraunts always have what I'm looking for (even Chinese places leave out the crispy won-ton chips with duck sauce), but no other place has ever come as close to making me want to skip the entree altogether as the Macaroni Grill. Sure, I could have eaten their delicious lobster ravioli with pesto cream sauce every night of the week, but I'd be much happier owning my shares to a lifetime supply of their rosemary bread.
This rosemary focaccia comes pretty close in flavor to the Macaroni Grill bread I remember - dipping oil included. You see, one great thing about focaccia is that the olive oil is baked right into the bread (and on the bottom, top, and sides). You can imagine that this would make each piece incredibly moist and delicious, and you would be right. I've been thinking about using this as pizza dough, too - dipping it in steak pizzaiola sauce is amazing. Try this with any italian meal, as breadsticks, as croutons, or just for snacking. This bread requires a stand mixer due to the stickiness of the dough - if it is kneaded by hand too much flour can easily be incorporated.
1 2/3 cup warm water (about 115 degrees)
1 packet (2 1/4 tsp) active dry yeast
1/4 cup + 3 tbl olive oil + more for oiling
4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour + more for kneading
1 1/2 tsp salt + more for sprinkling
2 tsp dried or fresh rosemary, chopped finely (I use a chopper to save a mess)
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment combine the water and yeast. Whisk with a fork to combine and let stand 10 minutes until frothy. Add 1/4 cup olive oil, 4 cups flour, and 1 1/2 tsp salt. Mix on low speed until just combined. Switch to the dough hook. Knead on low speed for 10 minutes. The dough should be smooth but very sticky. Flour a large cutting board or work surface with a few tablespoons of flour. Scrape all of the dough out onto the floured cutting board and knead for about 1 minute to incorporate some of the flour. The dough should be slightly sticky, this is fine. Form the dough into a ball and place in a deep oiled bowl, turning to coat evenly. Cover loosely with a kitchen towel and let rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 1/2 hours.
Generously oil a 10"x15"x1" pan (jelly roll pan) with olive oil. Put the risen dough in the pan and press out to fit. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise for one hour.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Using two fingers poke shallow indentations all over the surface of the dough. In a seperate bowl combine 3 tbl olive oil and chopped rosemary. Brush the oil mixture over the top of the dough, letting it pool in the indentations. Sprinkle with coarse salt. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Immediatly invert onto a wire rack to cool. Cut into squares. Serve warm or at room temperature, although I find it's best after being wrapped in aluminum foil overnight. *Makes about 20 square slices of focaccia.*
Source: Recipe heavily adapted from Food and Wine Magazine March 2002 via Epicurious.