Sage Focaccia Bread

Sage Focaccia Bread is tender and golden, with the earthiness of fresh sage throughout.  Top the bread with whole sage leaves and coarse sea salt for a beautiful presentation and a salty crunch.

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I’ve been intimidated by yeast breads as long as I can remember.  Why?  Kneading, worrying about the dough not rising enough, etc. I’ve made bread before, but I haven’t made it often enough to get comfortable with it.  One thing I’ve looked forward to most of all in cooking school is bread baking.  I’ve decided to try and bake some type of yeast bread once a week, whether it’s pizza, a loaf of wheat bread, or one of my favorites…focaccia. 🙂

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There’s just something about focaccia bread.  It’s got plenty of olive oil, which makes it very tender, yet it’s still crispy on the outside.  The olive oil also gives it a delicious flavor that you don’t get in an ordinary loaf of bread.

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The last time I made a yeast bread, it was when I made One Hour Rosemary Focaccia Bread.  I’ve always loved the flavor of fresh rosemary in focaccia, but now I have a new favorite.  Fresh sage adds a lovely earthiness, and it pairs perfectly with so many fall dishes from your Thanksgiving turkey, butternut squash ravioli, or my pumpkin soup with porcini cream.

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I’m discovering more and more that yeast breads aren’t difficult at all, and they’re so worth a little bit of kneading.  It really doesn’t get much better than a slice of home baked bread.  Satisfaction guaranteed. 🙂

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Sage Focaccia Bread
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Sage Focaccia Bread is tender and golden, with the earthiness of fresh sage throughout. Top the bread with whole sage leaves and coarse sea salt for a beautiful presentation and a salty crunch.
Serves: About 14 squares
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 2 cups lukewarm water (75-85 degrees), divided
  • 4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 12 tablespoons olive oil
  • 24-30 chopped sage leaves
  • 4½ cups of all purpose flour
For the top:
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • coarse sea salt
  • whole sage leaves
Instructions
  1. Mix the yeast, 1½ cups of the water, kosher salt, olive oil, chopped sage and flour until well incorporated. If the dough seems dry, add the remaining ½ cup of water.
  2. Knead the dough until it is shiny, smooth, and elastic (about 5-10 minutes). Place in a very lightly oiled container and let rise in a warm area for 1 - 1½ hours until doubled in size.
  3. Punch down the dough and knead lightly. Press the dough into a rimmed baking sheet. If it resists, cover it loosely with plastic wrap for 5-10 minutes to let the gluten relax. Once the dough has been pressed into the baking sheet, cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise 45-60 minutes.
  4. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Make indents in the top of the dough with your fingertips, then brush with the olive oil, and top with the coarse sea salt. Top with the whole sage leaves. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 20-25 minutes, or until golden. Serve warm.
Notes
Total time above includes the inactive first and second rises.

Recipe adapted from Tante Marie Cooking School, San Francisco, CA.