Apparently focaccia is not very photogenic. I took 6 pictures of the finished product, and posted the least bad one here. Everyone really liked this, but it doesn't look very good. It smelled fabulous while it was cooking, so we knew it would taste good, too. Interestingly, the picture in the cookbook looks pretty good. But who knows what tricks and what kind of professional photographer Southern Living has? I have none of those bells and whistles. I have no tricks, and a cell phone camera. Also, instead of using fresh rosemary, which I have no way to "finely chop" as the recipe directs, I used Italian seasoning. I figured that would make it more palatable for the younger set, too. The other modification that I made to this was to replace the olive oil and minced garlic with Garlic Infused Oil that I just got from Tastefully Simple (a friend of mine recently started selling...let me know if you want more info and I can get you her number). This made it so much easier, since I didn't have to mince garlic (which actually isn't that hard but still) and it eliminated that step. We had this with stuffed shells, which is one of Steve's favorite meals. The kids really like it, too.
2 pkg active dry yeast (or 4 1/2 tsp)
2 cups warm water (105-115 degrees)
6 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves, divided
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup olive oil, divided
8 cloves garlic, minced
2 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp finely ground pepper
Combine yeast and warm water in a 2-cup liquid measuring cup; let stand 5 minutes.
Place 4 cups flour in a large bowl; make a well in center. Add yeast mixture; stir until a soft dough forms. Cover and let rise in a warm place (no problem yesterday) free from drafts, 1 hour or until doubled in bulk (dough will be spongy).
Sprinkle remaining 2 cups flour on a flat surface. Turn dough out onto flour and knead until all the flour is incorporated to make a firm dough (harder than it sounds but I managed). Gradually knead in butter, 1/4 cup rosemary, and 1 tsp salt (crazy messy--Nathan was laughing at me, and kept saying things like, "I can't believe you're doing that!"). Knead until dough is smooth and elastic (about 5 minutes), adding additional flour if necessary.
Brush 2 15x10-inch jelly roll pans with 2 tbsp olive oil (here I used the Garlic Infused Oil). Set aside. Divide dough in half. Roll each portion into a 15x10 inch rectangle, and place in prepared pans. Cover and let rise in a warm place 30-45 minutes or until dough is almost doubled in bulk.
Using fingertips, dimple the dough all over in both pans; sprinkle with minced garlic and remaining rosemary. Drizzle with remaining 6 tbsp olive oil (here again I used the garlic oil and skipped using any minced garlic), and sprinkle with kosher salt and pepper.
Bake at 375 for 25-30 minutes or until golden. Cut or tear into squares (I tore it--one less knife to wash).
So this took a little while, and was messier than I planned on. Also I was kind of waiting for it to brown up, and because of that I think I might have left it in the oven a bit too long, so it was a bit drier and firmer than I think it should have been . But overall it was good, and everybody liked it. I was excited to use the new oil, too.