If you haven’t heard from me in a while, it’s because school has taken over my whole life. It’s midterms season. It’s total craziness over here.
That might be a little bit of an exaggeration. But things are still busy, which means less time to make + photograph + write up recipes.
My favorite pre-exam ritual, though, is something I call “stress baking.” Stressed? Bake some cookies.
There’s just something intensely calming about butter, sugar, eggs and flour. Or, in this case, flour, water, olive oil and salt. Perfectly portioned out. Stirred together, kneaded, rolled out, and baked in a very hot oven.
The ritual of baking instantly puts all of the busy thoughts out of my mind. After all, how can I be stressed when there’s sugar to be caramelized, butter to be browned, or dough to be kneaded?
I love this garlic sage focaccia alongside a plate of pasta, or as the bread in a panini. It’s wonderfully flavored, with just a hint of parmesan, red pepper flakes, garlic powder, a heap of sage leaves, and a drizzle of good olive oil.
We start with a mixture of flour, water, sugar, salt, and yeast.
We knead it into a smooth dough, and put it in a bowl to rest.
Turn it out onto a greased baking sheet.
Stretch it out. Add olive oil, garlic powder, parmesan, and sage.
Sprinkle with red pepper flakes and sea salt for extra punch.
We make dimples in the bread with our fingertips, then drizzle generously with olive oil.
Bake for about 20 minutes, until perfectly golden brown.
And done! Crisp edges and crispier sage.
Cut it into strips or squares to serve. It couldn’t be easier, simpler, or more delicious.
Garlic Sage Focaccia
For the dough:
- 1 teaspoon white sugar
- 2 1/4 teaspoons (1 package) active dry yeast
- 1/3 cup warm water (110 degrees F)
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3-4 tablespoons parmesan, grated
- 1/4-1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 cup sage leaves, washed and dried
- olive oil
- red pepper flakes
- sea salt
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, and yeast with a fork. Stir in the 1/3 cup warm water. Gradually add more water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until a shaggy dough forms. Stir until the dough has pulled together, then knead on a lightly floured surface for one minute.
- Roll the dough into a ball, place it back in the bowl, and coat it generously with olive oil. Cover with a damp cloth and let rest in a warm place until doubled, about 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F.
- Gently deflate the dough. Place the dough on a greased 9″x13″ baking sheet. Gently stretch and pull the dough with your fingertips to the edges of the baking sheet. The dough should be about 1/2 inch thick.
- Brush the dough with olive oil. Sprinkle on the garlic powder, parmesan cheese, red pepper flakes, and sea salt to taste.
- Make dimples in the dough with you fingertips, spacing the dimples about 2 inches apart. Drizzle more olive oil over the bread if needed. (More oil will lead to better browning + crispier crust.)
- Bake in the preheated oven for 10-20 minutes, until golden brown and cooked through. Bread can be loosely wrapped in plastic wrap and kept for 1-3 days at room temperature.
Adapted from AllRecipes