Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Salted Olive Oil Focaccia Bread

Soon after getting engaged we sat down and came up with a list of people we wanted to invite to the wedding.  The list was huge, over 400 people.  We kept looking at it and trying to think of ways we could cut it down.  After looking online it said most people don't invite kids to their wedding to cut down on the guest list.  We thought about it, but I honestly wanted kids at my wedding for lots of reasons.

1) I love seeing little kids dance at weddings.  They get so excited and really have fun with it!

2)  It is so nice to see all the little ones dressed up and looking fancy for weddings, all the pretty dresses and dapper little dudes makes me smile.

3)  Since so many of my cousins and friends have little ones I knew it would be hard to get babysitters since most of them would be travelling from out of town.  I didn't want them to have to RSVP no because they couldn't find child care.

4)  I really don't think cost is a good reason to not invite kids to a wedding...honestly most caterers charge less for kids, or you can even get them something less expensive to eat like pizza.  Also, most of them don't even require seats at a table, or if they do - you will have a few no shows on the wedding day who RSVP'd yes so just steal their chairs. : )

5)  The number one reason I wanted kids at our wedding is because I think it is important that kids grow up knowing what a wedding is and what the beginning of a Christian marriage looks like.  I remember going to a lot of weddings growing up and thinking how lovely the bride was, that she was for sure a princess, that she had found her prince, that it was a serious thing for them to make vows in front of people and in a Church in front of God, and that one day I wanted that too.  I remember holding my breath when the couples made their vows thinking it was such a special thing we were getting to be a part of.  I think that the more familiar kids are with marriage and weddings the more they will want it themselves if that is their vocation in life.

So for those reasons I am so happy we decided to have kiddos at our wedding!  It was so much fun dancing with them, laughing with them, and seeing them be a part of the beginning of our married lives together.  Kids are truly a gift and we were blessed to have all of those smiling gifts at our wedding!

Now...a recipe!  I have been in this crazy making soups and stews mode, and always want a nice crusty bread to serve with them.  Unfortunately, I am cursed when it comes to making bread...then I made this bread!  So easy and delicious!  My niece and I spent an evening cooking a nice dinner, and this was the star of the show for us!  It came together pretty easily, just remember that it requires 2 rises - so give yourself the time to make it.

Foccacia Bread
From Anne Burrell on Food Network (if you click on the link there is a quick video showing you how to make the bread - very helpful to watch before you start)

1 3/4 cups warm water
1 package active dry yeast
1 TBS Sugar
5 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading
1 TBS Kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling
1 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided

Combine the warm water, yeast and sugar in a small bowl. Put the bowl in a warm, not hot or cool, place until the yeast is bubbling and aromatic, at least 15 minutes.

In the bowl of a mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the flour, 1 tablespoon of kosher salt, 1/2 cup olive oil and the yeast mixture on low speed. Once the dough has come together, continue to knead for 5 to 6 minutes on a medium speed until it becomes smooth and soft. Give it a sprinkle of flour if the dough is really sticky and tacky.

Transfer the dough to a clean, lightly floured surface, then knead it by hand 1 or 2 times. Again, give it another sprinkle of flour if the dough is really sticky and tacky.

Coat the inside of the mixer bowl lightly with olive oil and return the dough to the bowl. Cover it with plastic wrap and put it in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size, at least 1 hour.

Coat a jelly roll pan with the remaining 1/2 cup olive oil. (Chef's Note: This may seem excessive, but focaccia is an oily crusted bread. This is why it is soooooooooo delicious!).

Put the dough onto the jelly roll pan and begin pressing it out to fit the size of the pan. Turn the dough over to coat the other side with the olive oil. Continue to stretch the dough to fit the pan. As you are doing so, spread your fingers out and make finger holes all the way through the dough. (Chef's Note: Yes, this is strange. But when the dough rises again it will create the characteristic craggy looking focaccia. If you do not make the actual holes in the dough, the finished product will be very smooth.)

Put the dough in the warm place until it has doubled in size, about 1 hour. While the dough is rising a second time, preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Liberally sprinkle the top of the focaccia with some coarse sea salt and lightly drizzle a little oil on top. Bake the dough until the top of the loaf is golden brown, about 25 to 30 minutes. Remove the focaccia from the oven and let it cool before cutting and serving.


  1. I love kids at weddings too! It's part of that whole celebrate as a community thing.

  2. Great pictures of the kiddos! Thanks for including them. You definitely made making the wedding that much easier for us by doing so! It was a wonderful evening and we all enjoyed it!!