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Rosemary Cherry Focaccia with Sea Salt

Easy recipe for Cherry Focaccia with fresh cherry halves, rosemary, olive oil and a sprinkling of sea salt. Sage or oregano give added flavour. A savoury soft bread ideal for breakfast or a tea time treat.
Prep Time40 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Dough Rising Time3 hrs
Total Time4 hrs 10 mins
Course: Bread, Side Dish
Cuisine: American, Mediterranean
Keyword: Cherry, Cherry Focaccia, Focaccia, Focaccia Bread, Rosemary Focaccia
Servings: 4 people
Author: Sujata Shukla

Ingredients

For the Dough

  • 2 teaspoons Active Dry Yeast
  • 1.5 cups Water i. Hot - see instructions; ii. 0.5 cups for the yeast, the rest for mixing the dough
  • a pinch Sugar granulated, white or brown sugar
  • 3.5 cups All-purpose Flour or Indian Maida (420 gms) or 1 cup wheat flour and 2.5 cups All -purpose/ Maida
  • 3 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 2 teaspoons Table Salt
  • 1 sprig Rosemary or 1 teaspoon dry rosemary
  • 1 Sage leaf or 0.5 teaspoon dry sage

To top the Rosemary Cherry Focaccia

  • 15 Cherries pitted and halved
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or balsamic vinegar or balsamic reduction refer instructions for soaking the cherries
  • 2 tablespoons Extra virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 sprig Rosemary or 1 teaspoon dry rosemary
  • 1 Sage leaf or 0.5 teaspoon dry sage
  • 1 teaspoon Sea Salt

Instructions

Proof the Yeast

  • I always do this. It takes just a few minutes, and you are then sure the yeast is active and the dough rise as required.
    Heat water to below boiling level. It should be hot and not boiling, as that would kill the yeast.
    40.5 deg C/ 105 F to 43.33 deg C / 110 F is considered the temperature suitable for proofing yeast. If you are not using a thermometer, do what I do: stick a finger cautiously into the water. If I can't, well its too hot. If Its pleasant and comfortable, it is not hot enough. If its hot, but I can manage a count of 10 seconds without having to pull my finger out, then its just right!
    Add a pinch of sugar and add the yeast. Stir once to dissolve (most yeast nowadays doesn't require to be dissolved, so check packet instructions). In about 5 minutes you would see light foam beginning to appear on the surface.
    In 10 minutes or less, the yeast would be foaming across the surface of the water. It is now 'proven', alive and active, and ready to be used in the recipe. 

Mix the Focaccia Dough

  • Take a large mixing bowl. Sieve in flour and salt (I used a mix of wheat flour and maida, but you could use just maida/ all-purpose too).
    Add half the remaining warm water (after taking 0.5 a cup for the yeast), olive oil and the yeast along with the water in which it was proven.
    I usually warm the entire quantity of water required for the recipe, then take out a portion for proofing the yeast, and add the rest, still warm, to the flour.
    Mix the dough well, adding more water as required. It will be sticky, but try not to add more flour.
  • Let the dough rest for 5 minutes, and then knead it on a flat clean work surface for about 5-6 minutes. The stickiness reduces as you knead.
    Once the dough has become less sticky and ready to be formed into a ball, add minced pieces of sage and rosemary leaves, spread through the dough.
    Shape the dough into a ball.

Set the Dough to Rise

  • Place the ball of dough in a large, lightly oiled bowl. Turn it around in the bowl so that the dough is coated with the oil.
    Cover the bowl with a cloth, using a damp cloth if the climate is warm/ hot.
    Leave the dough to rise for 1.5 hours, by which time it should have puffed up to about double its size. In damp/chill weather, it may take more time to rise.

Prepare the Cherries and Herbs

  • While waiting for the dough to rise, wash, wipe dry and pit the cherries. Slice into half top down (vertically). Keep the sliced cherries in a little olive oil or balsamic vinegar or balsamic reduction, till required.
    Wash, dry and mince the rosemary and sage leaves into tiny pieces
  • Prepare a baking sheet/ pan with about 1" depth, by spraying oil on the bottom and sides of the sheet.
    Cover the sheet and its inner sides, with parchment paper.
    Place the dough in the sheet and gently press so that it covers the sheet.
    Again cover with a clean cloth and let it rise for 1.5 hours, till it has doubled in size.

Add Cherries and Rosemary, Sage to the Focaccia

  • Preheat the oven to 250 deg Celsius / about 480 F).
    Using your fingers, make little holes on the surface of the dough, each about 2" apart. Make deep indentations as the dough will quickly spring back to the surface, but don't make them all the way to the bottom.
    Stick a piece of rosemary or sage in each indentation. Add olive oil and press half a cherry into each. The oil in which the cherries were soaked, can be used here.
    Scatter rosemary olive on the surface of the focaccia. Sprinkle olive oil and then sea salt too, on the surface.

Bake the Rosemary Cherry Focaccia

  • Bake the cherry focaccia for 10 minutes, at the pre-heated temperature of 250C/ 480F. Reduce the oven heat to 190C/ 375F, and bake for 20 minutes, till the bottom of the focaccia begins to brown slightly and becomes crisp, and the top is golden brown.
    Oven temperatures tend to differ, so its safer to check the bread after 12-15 minutes after reducing the temperature, so that it is not over-baked.
    Remove the focaccia bread from the oven, and carefully slip the focaccia onto a wire rack to cool.
    Slice after it cools.