Baking A Rosemary Garlic Focaccia Bread for Litha | Summer Solstice
A focaccia bread is a flat oven-baked bread that is very similar to pizza dough, both in taste and texture. We love baking and this is one of the easiest bread recipes that you can bake at home. Focaccia requires very little kneading, making it a great bread for beginner bakers. It is also very tasty! To help you understand the properties of rosemary and how to better utilize the herb in your practices, check out our article on the lovely herb here.
Some people bring salt and bread before anything else. – Scott Cunningham (128)
The summer solstice takes place on or around June 21st; the longest day and the shortest night of the year. This sabbat is referred to as Litha, but is commonly known as the summer solstice or midsummer. Litha is a celebration of the God and Goddess at the peak of their powers. The element fire holds a very high place in Litha festivals, as it represents transformation, purity, and new beginnings. As such, we felt baking a special bread imbued with our love and energy is a wonderful ritual that we can do to celebrate this sabbat.
Typically rosemary is not directly associated with the summer solstice, but we have rosemary in abundance in our garden and love to incorporate the magical herb whenever we can. We also use locally sourced honey to sweeten our focaccia. Honey is a reflection of the life-giving Sun, making it a perfect inclusion for any Litha celebration.
Gather Your Items:
- 1/2 cup (120 ml) of extra-virgin olive oil.
- 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh rosemary.
- 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped.
- 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh thyme.
- 1/4 teaspoon of fresh ground black pepper.
- 1 cup (235 ml) of warm water (not lukewarm).
- 2 1/4 teaspoons of active dry yeast (or 1 yeast packet).
- 1/2 teaspoon of honey.
- 2 1/2 cups (315 g) of all-purpose flour.
- 9″ x 13″ rimmed baking sheet or glass baking dish.
You do not have to use fresh ingredients, but it does make a big difference!
How To Make Your Dough:
Imbuing your ingredients with magical intent as you prepare them is a great way to incorporate a ritual aspect into cooking. Remember that as you prepare this recipe and bake your rosemary garlic focaccia bread for Litha.
Combine your olive oil, minced garlic, rosemary, thyme and black pepper in a medium sized skillet. You will need to cook this over low heat, stirring occasionally for between 5 to 10 minutes, taking consideration into making sure that your minced garlic does not get too brown or burn.
Get a large bowl to combine your warm water, yeast and honey. Mix this together and let it proof for 5 minutes so that the yeast can begin to activate. You should see some bubbles on the top of the mixture after your 5 minutes are up.
Add 1 cup of your all-purpose flour and 1/4 cup of your olive oil and rosemary infusion to the bowl that has your yeast in it. You only need to stir this 3 times; until the flour has moistened. Let this mixture sit for 5 minutes.
Add your remaining 1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour and the salt. You will want to stir this in, usually adding a little at a time. Once the dough starts to form, turn it out on a lightly floured surface. Knead the dough about 15 times, until it becomes smooth. You do not want to overwork it.
Once you have completed kneading the dough, transfer it to a large bowl coated in olive oil. Cover the bowl with a warm, damp towel then let it rise for 1 hour. You will want to let this process take place in the warmest area of your kitchen.
Baking Your Bread:
After your dough has proofed for one hour, pre-heat your oven to 450° Fahrenheit. Use 2 tablespoons of your rosemary infused olive oil to grease your 9″ x 13″ baking sheet/dish. Place your dough in your baking sheet or dish. Using your finger tips, press it down into the pan, creating a dimpling effect in the dough. Use the remaining rosemary infused olive oil on the top of your dough. Let the dough rise for another 20 minutes.
After the last proof, bake your bread for 15 to 20 minutes. It should have a nice golden brown appearance. Once you remove your bread from the oven, allow it to cool on a wire rack. Enjoy your Litha bread with some pesto, olive oil, and mozzarella cheese.
The following are books that were referenced in this article and would be an excellent addition to your magical library:
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Bibliography and Works Cited:
Cunningham, Scott. Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs. Llewellyn, 1985.
Cunningham, Scott & Harrington, David. The Magical Household. Llewellyn, 1983.
- These are three must haves for your library. Cunningham is one of our favorite authors!
Lust, John. The Herb Book. New York: Bantam, 1974.
- Helpful for nomenclature, particularly folk names. The book includes some magical and mythical information throughout.