Rosemary Focaccia Bread

A favorite repost for the holidays….

Mom used to bake bread quite often when we were growing up.  As a young kid, this activity seemed marathon-like.  We had to wait forever for the yeast to rise, sometimes twice. I’d watch Mom combine the yeast with water and flour, stir it rapidly and then cover the bowl with a raggedy old orange dish towel.   Like a cub following its mother, I’d wander behind her into our secret “furnace room”.    The furnace room was off the laundry room and it was always dark and tropically warm.  Mom would place the bowl down on the dusty floor, explaining that the yeast needed to rise and in order to rise, it needed to be left in a warm area.  To me, the art of baking bread would forever seem magical and mysterious.  It also intimidated me enough to prevent me from every trying it.

Until a few years ago when I took a Basically Baking class at the Institute for Culinary Education, Rosemary Focaccia topped our long list of baked goods we’d be creating in under 4 hours.  So, just like that I found myself working with yeast. Before we began, the chef warned us to never ever let the water get too hot, or it will kill the yeast. I will never forget turning to my partner and revealing my life-long fear of yeast.  Luckily she was sympathetic and willing to work in tandem.  We whisked and beat the yeast vigorously (together). 

Kneading my first bread dough!

An hour later, our first rise was a success.  Our bread looked puffy, shiny and extra doughy.  After the second hour and another successful rise, we got the green light from the chef to spread the dough into a jelly roll pan and poke holes all over.  And, we happily poked away, knowing how close we were to having some fresh tasty bread.

Bread spread in pan awaiting holes and final baking

Now it’s “holey” bread

Sprinkling on final sea salt touches

As I pulled out that long slab of Focaccia from the oven, I felt a huge sense of accomplishment rush over me.  I’m certainly not an artisan baker but, before my eyes was my perfectly-baked Rosemary Focaccia bread.

It was truly magical.

From that moment on, I was no longer intimidated to make bread.  Check out some of the other recipes I’ve tried:

Apple Cider Challah

Cinnamon Raisin Quickbread

Chocolate Cinnamon Bread Loaf

Amish White Bread

Cinnamon Raisin Bread

Honey Bran Bread


Baked to perfection!


Have you baked bread at home?  If so, what’s your favorite recipe?  If not, why not?


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