Thursday, August 16, 2012

Focaccia Bread

I have probably admitted before that I am afraid to cook with yeast. I haven't done it very much before, and when I have, it has turned out less than desirable. But when I have watched my sister-in-law, Lydia, cook breads and other things with yeast, she made it look so easy, and helped me realize that it isn't that hard.
The other day, I didn't have that much food in the house, and as I was perusing one of my cookbooks, I came across a recipe for focaccia bread. It only used like 5 ingredients, which I had on hand, and had toppings you could add, like sauteed onions and red peppers, which were some of the only other things I had! So, I though it would be a good idea to try to make it!
Lydia had made focaccia bread before, and it was delicious. It is sort of like a bread/pizza with a myriad of toppings you could add. In retrospect, I wish I would have added a spice to the top, but I'll talk about that later. For now, let's get right to the recipe!!

Focaccia Bread
The All New Good Housekeeping Cook Book

1 1/2 cups warm water (105-115 degrees) (I just got warm tap water, I didn't use a thermometer)
1 package active dry yeast (I used 2 1/4 tsp of bread machine yeast)
1 teaspoon sugar
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tsp. table salt
3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour or 3 1/2 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt or coarse sea salt

1.In a large bowl, combine 1/2 cup warm water, yeast, and sugar; stir to dissolve. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. Add remaining 1 cup warm water, 2 tablespoons oil, table salt, and flour; stir to combine.
2. Turn dough onto floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 7 minutes. Dough will be soft; do not add more flour.
3. Shape dough into ball; place in greased large bowl, turning dough to grease top. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let stand in warm place (80 to 85 degrees) until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.
4. Lightly oil 15 1/2 by 10 1/2 inch jelly-roll pan. Punch dough down and pat into prepared pan. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in warm place until doubled, about 45 minutes.
5. With fingertips, make deep intentations, 1 inch apart, over entire surface of dough, almost to bottom of pan. Drizzle with remaining 3 tablespoons oil; sprinkle with kosher salt. Cover loosely with plastic wrap; let rise in warm place until doubled, about 45 minutes.
6. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 450 degrees. Bake focaccia on lowest oven rack until bottom is crusty and top is lightly browned, about 18 minutes. Transfer focaccia to wire rack to cool. Makes 12 servings.

*Note: It is also a nice tough to sprinkle on some fresh rosemary, fresh sage, or any other seasoning that you enjoy! You can add toppings like sauteed onions, sauteed red peppers (I did a combination), dried tomato, olives, tomatoes, etc. The possiblities are endless! My sis-in-law also mixed garlic in with her vegetable toppings and she actually soaks her veggies in olive oil, and doesn't saute them. You choose! The veggies will be softer if you saute them, though.

I let my dough rise on top of the preheated oven, with plastic wrap over it. The heat from the oven helped my dough to rise perfectly! Which is what I have had problems with in the past!! So if you don't have many ingredients in your house, but want a filling, yummy snack, lunch, or dinner, then try this super easy recipe! Just remember it takes about 3 hours total!!

Head on over to Alicia's Homemaking for other fun, new adventures!!

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