Focaccia

Bread baking requires a whole different set of skills than I currently possess. But I’m determined to become a bread baker, so here I am, learning to make focaccia.

Why focaccia? It’s a fairly simple dough, and thus seemed like a good place to begin. I made a different version a few weeks back but didn’t get a chance to blog it; the recipe itself is adapted from one I found at Gimme Some Oven. I used a good cup or so more flour than in the original, kneaded it for a slightly longer time, and sprinkled the top with regular Italian seasoning instead of fresh rosemary. I’m happy to say that it turned out very well, and it’s something I’ll definitely make again. Maybe next time, I’ll top it with a bit of parmesan cheese.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/3 cup warm water (about 110 degrees)
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (one 7-gram package)
  • 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • Italian seasoning, for sprinkling

Preparation

In a mixing bowl, combine warm water and sugar. Add yeast and stir, then allow to sit for 5-10 minutes until the yeast appears foamy.

Using your dough hook, mix the dough on low speed and gradually add about 3 1/2 cups flour, the salt, and the olive oil. Increase the speed to medium-low and mix for 5 minutes, adding an additional 1/4 to 1/2 cup flour. The dough will be fairly sticky.

Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for a few more minutes, adding the remaining flour (up to about 4 1/2 cups). The dough will still be a bit sticky, but you’ll be able to shape it into a ball. Place the dough in an oiled bowl and cover it with a damp towel; allow the dough to rise for about 1 hour, until double in size.

Gently deflate the dough and transfer it to a 9 x 13 baking pan; stretch the dough so it fills the pan, and cover it with the damp towel again. Allow the dough to rise a second time for about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Before placing your dough in the oven, poke deep indentations in the top, then drizzle with additional olive oil and sprinkle with Italian seasoning. Bake for 23-25 minutes, until dough is golden on top. Remove from oven and allow to cool for just a few minutes before serving, or cool to room temperature.

Makes one 9 x 13 rectangle of focaccia, enough for about 12-15 servings.

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