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Basil, Rosemary and Tomato Focaccia



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Basil, Rosemary and Tomato Focaccia
Bon Appetit August 1995

During the hot summer months, baking bread might seem like a terrible chore. Please do yourself a favor and instead of thinking about the heat, think about how delicious this will be! I'm always inspired by the availability of fresh herbs and flavorful tomatoes at this time of year. I hope you will be too! (MG)

3/4 cup olive oil
6 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
2 cups warm water (105 to 115 degrees F.)
1 envelope dry yeast
5 cups (about) unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
8 medium-size plum tomatoes, seeded, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 tablespoons coarse salt
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh basil

Combine oil, garlic and crushed red pepper in heavy small saucepan. Stir over medium-low heat until garlic is golden, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand at least 1 hour. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before using.)
Pour 2 cups warm water into large glass measuring cup. Sprinkle yeast over and let stand until yeast dissolves, about 10 minutes. Whisk in 3 tablespoons garlic oil.
Combine 2 cups flour and 2 teaspoons salt in bowl of heavy-duty mixer. Add yeast mixture and beat until incorporated. Mix in enough remaining flour 1 cup at a time to form soft dough. Beat on low speed just until dough is smooth, about 3 minutes.
Brush large bowl with 1 tablespoon garlic oil. Transfer dough to prepared bowl. Turn to coat with oil. Cover with plastic, then damp kitchen towel. Let dough rise in warm draft-free area until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.
Place tomatoes in colander set over large bowl. Toss with 1 tablespoon coarse salt. Let stand 15 minutes. Rinse under cold water. Transfer tomatoes to paper towels; drain well.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Brush 15-by-10-by-1-inch baking sheet with 1 tablespoon garlic oil. Transfer dough to prepared sheet. Using oiled hands, stretch dough to roughly fit pan. Press dough all over with fingertips to dimple. Sprinkle dough with rosemary, then tomatoes, pressing some into dimples. Sprinkle with basil and remaining 1 tablespoon coarse salt. Bake focaccia until golden brown, about 30 minutes. Transfer to rack. Cool. Cut focaccia into squares. Serve with remaining garlic oil.

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