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Focaccia with Rosemary, Red Onion and Sea Salt

Yield: 8 large servings (or 12 smaller)

  • 2 cups warm water (110°F.)
  • 1 package dry yeast
  • about 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. salt, plus more to sprinkle on top
  • 4 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbs. fresh rosemary leaves, lightly chopped
  • 1 small red onion, very thinly sliced

Proof the yeast in the warm water in a large bowl for 8-10 minutes, until foamy. Add 4 1/4 cups of the flour and the 2 teaspoons salt, and stir to blend well. Flour a work surface, and turn dough out of the bowl. Knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, adding more flour by the tablespoonful if too sticky. This will take 8-10 minutes. Use a tablespoon of the oil to coat the surface of a large bowl. Turn the ball of dough in the bowl, to coat all the surface with oil, and cover with plastic wrap. Set to rise in a warm area until doubled in bulk, about one hour. Punch down dough, knead into a ball and return to the same bowl. Cover and let rise again until doubled, half an hour or a bit more. [note: you an also “retard” the dough, leaving it in a bowl in the refrigerator for up to 8 hours, where it will rise very slowly, and remove it to finish it’s rise as you are ready.]

Coat a baking sheet with a tablespoon of the oil. Punch the dough down, transfer to the baking sheet. Press with your fingers to a 10 x 13 inch rectangle. Let rest 10 minutes. Drizzle the remaining oil over the dough, and sprinkle on the rosemary and onions evenly. Let rise, uncovered in a warm area until puffy, 15-20 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 475°F.

Sprinkle the top of the bread with sea salt or kosher salt, using about 1 1/2 teaspoons. Press your fingertips all over the dough, forming indentations and somewhat imbedding the onions and herbs. Bake until brown and crusty, about 20 minutes. Serve warm.