This post has been a long time coming.  Since before I started baking any kind of bread, I’ve wanted to make focaccia.  The puffy center and slightly crisp crust of freshly baked focaccia has always excited me.  Yet it’s terrified me at the same time.  How could what I make ever compare to the greatness of some focaccia I’ve eaten?  Folks, that’s what learning to cook and bake is about.  It’s about trying out new things, hoping they come out the way you want, and trying again if they don’t.  Fortunately for me, this focaccia was everything I had hoped it would be.

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Since this Italian bread is as much of a blank canvas as pasta is, the possibilities for toppings (or even fillings!) are only as restricted as your imagination.  I topped my first loaf with chopped rosemary and Asiago cheese and served it alongside spinach lasagna and a green salad.  Nothing fancy, just good, homey Italian food for a Sunday night supper.  The focaccia was beyond my expectations and half of the loaf was easily gone after a dinner with four people.  Even after we had finished eating and were sitting at the table chatting before the dishes were cleared, we were still stealing pieces to munch on from the bread basket.  The rosemary lends some really great flavor to the bread and the powerful Asiago is the perfect complement to the punch of the fresh rosemary.  While from start to finish, this focaccia takes nearly 20 hours to make, almost all of the time is inactive, and the overnight starter is a key component to the final flavor, so don’t skip that step.  You’ll be able to find plenty of things to do during the inactive starter/rise/proof time like sleep, make scones, hummus, toffee bar brownie torte, and spinach lasagna.  Sunday was a very busy day for me in the kitchen but it was topped off with a very special accomplishment: my first focaccia.