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July 21, 2010

If it were up to me Dr. Atkins would be charged with crimes against humanity.  I mean, c’mon.  No carbs?  Puh-lease.  As a general rule of thumb, I don’t trust people who don’t eat bread.   Unless there’s an allergy involved, in which case, I’m sorry for your loss.

Cook’s Illustrated on the other hand would be charged with the crime of know-it-all.  I’m as amazed as I am annoyed at how easy and wonderful their recipes always seem to turn out.  Even without all the kit that this recipe called for (stand mixer and a pizza stone), the results were (to quote Mr. KC) “like a drug”.  This came as close to recreating the most amazing focaccia that we had in Italy over Easter.

KC note: This recipe calls for the bread to be consumed right out of the oven and it’s easy to see why.  The crust is nice and crunchy and the inside, soft and chewy.  Perfect balance for the bread.  The next day is a different story.  It all goes a bit gummy, but that’s nothing that a quick toast in the oven at 400°F/200°C for 5 minutes on each side won’t fix.

from Cook’s Illustrated

  • 3 cups (15oz) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups water, room-temperature
  • 1 1/4 tsp table salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp instant or rapid-rise yeast
  • 1 1/4 tsp sugar
  • 5 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tbsp whole fresh rosemary leaves, chopped


  1. Mix the flour, water, and table salt in the bowl of a standing mixer fitter with the dough hook on low-speed until no areas of dry flour remain (3-4 mins).
  2. Allow dough to rest for 20 minutes.
  3. Sprinkle yeast and sugar over the dough.
  4. Knead on low-speed until fully incorporated, 1-2 minutes.
  5. Increase speed to high and knead until the dough is glossy and pulls away from the side of the bowl, 6-10 minutes.
  6. Using your fingers, coat a large bowl with 1 tbsp of olive oil, rubbing excess on your fingers and hands.
  7. Transfer dough to the bowl and pour 1 tbsp more oil over top, flipping the dough over so that it is well coated.
  8. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise for 2-2 1/2 hours–dough will at least double in size.
  9. One hour before baking, adjust an oven rack to the middle position, place a pizza stone on the rack and heat the oven to 450°.  (KC note:  I don’t have a stand mixer, let alone a pizza stone.  I just didn’t do this step, except for adjusting the rack to the middle position.  That I did).
  10. Coat a rimmed baking sheet (I used a roasting pan) with 2-3 more tbsp of oil.  Using your hands (with a little oil on them), turn the dough out onto the baking sheet.
  11. Using your fingers press the dough toward the edges of the baking sheet, it will not fit snugly into the corners and that is a-okay.
  12. If you are having a hard time stretching the dough, let it rest on the baking sheet for 5-10 minutes before giving it another go.
  13. Using a fork, poke the surface 30-40 times and sprinkle with kosher salt.
  14. Place the baking sheet in the over and bake until golden (20-30 minutes).
  15. Turn the sheet about halfway through and sprinkle on chopped rosemary at this time.
  16. Transfer bread to cutting board once done, brush lightly with oil.
  17. Slice and serve immediately.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. July 21, 2010 10:15 pm

    Fresh rosemary in our pots…focaccia for dinner?? Looks good and can almost smell the aroma! Great photos!

    • July 21, 2010 10:26 pm

      It’s beyond addictive and surprisingly easy. Hope that rosemary finds a future as a focaccia topper!

  2. July 22, 2010 5:34 am

    What a perfect focaccia! Bread glorious bread!
    Oh no, I am going to have to wait to make this recipe, I am out of yeast 😦
    🙂 Mandy

  3. July 23, 2010 11:04 am

    I don’t have a stand mixer either, so I’m curious as to how you mixed your dough. Thanks!

    • July 23, 2010 2:19 pm

      Ah, right. Excellent question. While I don’t own a stand mixer, I do own a hand mixer with a mind of its own. It comes with dough hook attachments you might spy in the photos.

      Alternatively though, your two hands will work just fine, it’ll just be a longer and messier process.

  4. July 24, 2010 4:51 am

    The right kind of carbs are essential to good health and weight maintenance. Thanks for the Cook’s Illustrated recipe. I love Cook’s Illustrated magazine. I love the segment where they try to identify an kitchen item unknown to the owner usually an antique and the Editor’s Page. What an interesting guy!

  5. mimi permalink
    July 28, 2010 11:40 pm

    Yum! I only just discovered the joy and beauty of making my own focaccia, and it is such a an all-encompassing sensory experience: the handful of simple ingredients, using my hands to knead, the smell of dough rising, then the smell of the bread baking, the sight of it browning, and the taste… ohh, the taste. I add garlic powder to mine because rosemary and garlic together is like… heaven.

    • July 28, 2010 11:57 pm

      Ooh, adding garlic. That would officially make this a lethal food for me. Some roasted garlic to spread on after would be amazing.

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