1 cup warm water
2 tablespoons sugar
3 1/2 to 5 cups flour
2 tablespoon kosher salt
1/4 cup olive oil (plus 2 tablespoons for later)
cornmeal, for dusting the pan
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup grated parmesan
freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped
in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a dough hook, proof the yeast by combining it with the warm water and sugar, stirring gently to dissolve. let the yeast sit for about 3 minutes or until a foam appears. with the mixer on low, slowly add 1/2 the flour to the bowl. add 1 tablespoon kosher salt and 1/4 cup of olive oil. slowly start to add more flour until the dough forms itself into a ball and no longer sticks to the bowl. let the machine knead the dough for you for about 5 minutes. the dough should be smooth and elastic.
form the dough into a smooth ball and place in an oiled bowl, making sure to coat the whole ball with oil, cover with a clean kitchen towel and put in a warm place to rise. let the dough rise until it has doubled in size. (this will take about an hour but, depending on the weather and how warm your kitchen is, it could take up to 2 hours).
preheat oven to 400 degrees.
mix together the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil with the garlic, rosemary and 1 tablespoon of kosher salt. spread this mixture all over the top of the dough then sprinkle with the parmesan cheese and black pepper. bake on the lowest rack of the oven for 20-30 minutes or until the bread is golden brown. let the bread cool in the pan on a rack.
if you have never tried your hand at baking bread, this is a wonderful recipe to start with. it uses ingredients that most of us have in our cupboards already, and you don’t need any special equipment to make it. this focaccia makes fantastic sandwiches, garlic bread, croutons, bruschetta and pizza bread. it makes such a large loaf, you can even freeze half for later. perfect when you’re on a budget because you just bought your first house and can’t afford toothpaste!