What Is Rosemary Focaccia?

M.C. Huguelet
M.C. Huguelet
Tapenade goes well with focaccia bread.
Tapenade goes well with focaccia bread.
Tapenade goes well with focaccia bread.

Rosemary focaccia is a popular variation of focaccia, a relatively flat, rich bread associated with Italian cuisine. Focaccia has been enjoyed in Italy for centuries, and many regard it as a precursor to modern day pizza. With its fragrant aroma and pungent taste, rosemary focaccia is a slight variation on traditional focaccia recipes which can be used to make sandwiches or simply enjoyed on its own. Making rosemary focaccia involves preparing a simple dough which is then enhanced with olive oil and topped with sprigs of fresh or dried rosemary.

Brushing focaccia with olive oil before it is placed in the oven brings out the rich flavors of this flat bread.
Brushing focaccia with olive oil before it is placed in the oven brings out the rich flavors of this flat bread.
Brushing focaccia with olive oil before it is placed in the oven brings out the rich flavors of this flat bread.

Traditional focaccia may be regarded as a bread of contradictions: it is at once flat and airy, soft and crusty, simple and rich. It has been a common part of Italian cuisine for centuries, although some food historians believe that its origins might actually lie with the ancient Greeks. Due to the fact that traditional focaccia consists of just a few relatively inexpensive ingredients, namely flour, water, salt, and a small amount of yeast, it was once dismissed as a food of the poor. As of the 21st century, however, focaccia is widely appreciated as an uncomplicated yet satisfying form of bread, and bakeries, restaurants, and home cooks in Italy and abroad serve up both traditional and adapted versions of it. Many even herald it as a precursor to modern day pizza.

Bakeries often offer rosemary foccacia.
Bakeries often offer rosemary foccacia.
Bakeries often offer rosemary foccacia.

One of the most popular variations of traditional focaccia is rosemary focaccia. This bread closely resembles the original, except that its surface is dotted with sprigs of fresh or dried rosemary which have been pressed into the dough prior to baking. While the addition of rosemary may seem but a minor twist on the traditional focaccia recipe, the herbs imbue the finished bread with a heavily fragrant aroma and a sharp, pungent flavor. Rosemary focaccia can be spread with tapenade or other dips, used to make sandwiches, or simply enjoyed as is. Some cooks choose to top rosemary focaccia with additional ingredients such as red onion, although purists argue that adding too many toppings pushes the bread into pizza territory.

Making rosemary focaccia involves preparing a simple dough of water, flour, yeast, and salt. To create a crisp bottom and a rich flavor, some cooks lay this dough in a pan to which a layer of olive oil has been added. Once the dough has been arranged in its pan and allowed to rise, sprigs of rosemary are pressed into its surface. Often, the dough is then brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt. Finally, it is baked, cooled, and enjoyed.

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    • Tapenade goes well with focaccia bread.
      Tapenade goes well with focaccia bread.
    • Brushing focaccia with olive oil before it is placed in the oven brings out the rich flavors of this flat bread.
      Brushing focaccia with olive oil before it is placed in the oven brings out the rich flavors of this flat bread.
    • Bakeries often offer rosemary foccacia.
      Bakeries often offer rosemary foccacia.