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Rosemary Focaccia

Focaccia Sandwich

Don’t get me started on sandwich bread in China.

Don’t get me wrong – it’s not necessarily bad…  It’s just…not good.

Most sandwich bread sold in our city (Xiamen, in case you weren’t paying attention) is the really soft, somewhat oily kind, with an unmistakably sweet flavor that kind of makes you go “huh” and really, really miss home, where the bread aisle (a whole aisle for bread, hallelujah!) is filled with hundreds of kinds of bread: whole wheat, whole grain, multi-grain, oatmeal, rye, country, Texas toast, Italian, pumpernickel…  Oh my, do we miss the bread at home.

So what do you do when the only thing available is Chinese sandwich bread, and your husband is something of a sandwich connoisseur, and you have nothing with which to make him a lunch sandwich?

Why, you make your own of course!  Which is how I came to make this deliciously fantastic rosemary focaccia bread, which is just the thing for your ravenous sandwich-loving hubby at lunchtime.


Rosemary Focaccia
Cobbled together from a few recipes

When you live in China, anything resembling a real oven is difficult to come by, and all of our baked goods are baked in a tiny little Chinese toaster oven.  Therefore, the measurements for this recipe are for a small focaccia (about 8 x 12), just enough for two or three people for lunch.  If you want to make a bigger focaccia, just double everything except the yeast, and let it rise for an hour instead of ½ hour.

1 pkg (about 2 ¼ teaspoons) active dry yeast
1 tsp sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
sea salt
warm water
1 tsp dried rosemary
2 tbsp olive oil, plus more for greasing

Dissolve the yeast and sugar in ½ cup of warm water (about 40-45 degrees C…which I figure is about the temperature of a hot Jacuzzi).  Let stand till foamy, 5-10 min.

In a large bowl, mix the flour and ½ tsp salt.  Add the yeast mixture and stir to combine.  Gradually add water, a tablespoon at a time, until dough is moistened enough to pull together and form a ball.  In the same bowl, knead dough about 1 minute, until smooth.

Remove dough, and oil the same bowl with some olive oil (see, a one-bowl recipe!).  Put the ball of dough back into the bowl, turn to coat, and then cover with a damp cloth.  Let rise in a warm place until doubled, about ½ hour.

Preheat oven to 245 degrees C or 470 F.

Punch down the dough, and (in the same bowl of course) knead briefly.  Press into an 8 x 12” baking pan (no need to grease it).  Keep in mind that the focaccia won’t rise much, so don’t press it much thinner than you want the final product to be.  Let it rise for 5 minutes or so until it is about the height you want.

Mix the rosemary with the olive oil and brush it over the top of the bread.  Sprinkle with sea salt.  Bake for about 10 minutes (it should sound hollow when you tap the top), or a little longer if you want it to be a bit crustier.  Cut into squares and serve.

Recipe notes: I used to be really intimidated by yeast breads, but once you get the hang of it, it’s as easy as cake!  The only hard part is proofing the yeast – make sure your water isn’t too hot, or it will kill the yeast, and not too cool, or the yeast won’t activate. Also, if you’re having issues with the bread being too flat, just let it rise a tiny bit more before popping it in the oven.


15 comments to Rosemary Focaccia

  • Mathew

    I am amazed at how good the focaccia is. I’ve never been able to make what I consider “gourmet sandwiches” and have often run to the deli to get my fix. I never considered actually MAKING the bread. I think that’s the most duanting part! I think the bacon-cucumber cheese sandwich is a good combo because the vegetable keeps it light and not so heavy on the grease. Is there another cheese that would work?

  • Camilla

    hi mat! actually, I just used bacon because it was all I had. But I really think it would be great with a less greasy meat, since there is already olive oil brushed on the focaccia. And some mixed greens, like arugula and fresh herbs, or roasted vegetables. As for cheese, I’m sure anything would do, though something with a stronger taste, like a nice Gruyere or herbed Gouda would be nice.

  • Suzanne

    This is so cool Camilla!! I’m so jealous, I want to do something like this but I just have no time :( Anyways, I love your recipes and how they’re “China-friendly” :) Hope you guys are well!!

  • Camilla

    hi suz! yes, we have so much more time now that we’re teaching at a university. But we do miss smic, as well as you guys. We hope to visit soon!

  • Mathew

    Roasted vegetables would be nice. Just as an aside, I find it hard to eat sandwiches with JUST vegetables… even with cheese… it’s like if there’s no meat… it’s not a sandwich! I suppose peanutbutter and jelly aside… and grilled cheese sandwich… hmmm… what else?

  • Camilla

    Haha I understand. You just don’t feel satisfied. But actually I really enjoy sandwiches with just vegetables…in university I was on a meal plan my first year, and every Friday was sandwich day – which was awesome because they had a huge assortment of whole wheat breads, roasted veggies, and sandwich fixin’s. MUCH better than their normal meals.

  • this looks really good! i’ve been wanting to try and make foccacia for so long. i think i may just try it tonight! wish me luck!

  • Good for you for being so inventive with a toaster oven! The foccaccia looks terrific.

  • Gretchen

    I made a variation on your recipe tonight. I really enjoyed it and it was quite easy. I added some oregano and just a dash of lavender to the rosemary. It stands by itself. I had to run back to my computer to figure out what the conversion is from celsius to fahrenheit quick :) thanks!

  • Camilla

    Glad you enjoyed it! I’ve put the oven temp in Fahrenheit now. I’m not used to these strange measures used in America *wink*!

  • I made this…and it was so easy! I’ve been quite scared of yeast breads myself, seeing as it’s probably pretty easy to ruin the yeast. But this was simple…and I didn’t have to wait a day to eat it. I did, however, use whole wheat flour for a slightly healthier touch. I’ll post mine soon! Thanks for the recipe idea.

  • [...] with triangles of focaccia from this easy recipe for a hearty, warm and immensely satisfying cold-weather [...]

  • Hi, this sounds great, looks great too! I am going to try this today.

    would it be possible to share this with photo at my recipe blog:

    stop by if you can.

    Happy thanksgiving, G

  • Lysanne

    I just have to comment to let you know how much I love this recipe, it got me over my fear for yeast :) Though it took me 3 times to get the thing perfect haha.

    I’m not sure if you’ll ever read this, but thank you ever so much for all your lovely recipes, I’ve just moved out of my parents home and live with my boyfriend and it’s great to have such a lovely blog around to get ideas for baking :D

  • Camilla

    Hi Lysanne! Thanks so much for your comment! I don’t update this site much anymore but I’m so glad you like the recipes! I may consider coming back to it in the future =).