Friday, November 11, 2011

Focaccia Bread

Last week I shared my chicken corn chowder recipe and mentioned that I served it with homemade focaccia bread.  To tell you the truth, that was the first time I’d ever made focaccia; but it was so good, that it is going to become a regular.

Focaccia dough is basically modified pizza dough.  You can personalize it by the herbs you choose to use.  I kept it pretty simple, but you can jazz it up by topping it with garlic, tomatoes, onions, mozzarella, feta, olives….be creative!

I like to make it in my mixer so I don’t have to get out my bread board and kneed the dough.  If you don’t have a mixer, however, it can definitely be made by hand.

Because naptime interferes with the time I would need to start the dough rising, I like to make bread doughs in the morning and rise them slowly in the fridge.  This method worked great with this focaccia.

The recipe below makes two loaves of bread.  One loaf is more than enough for my family for one meal (the boys don’t eat it), so I refrigerate or freeze half of the dough for later use.  Just take half out after the first rising.  Store in plastic wrap or a zip-top bag.  If you do this, be sure to halve the amount of olive oil listed for drizzling.

Speaking of the olive oil, it will seem like a lot—it is.  That’s what makes it focaacia bread and why it is so delicious!  I don’t really measure at this point.  I just make sure all the dimples are filled.  Alternatively, you can brush both sides with olive oil.

1⅓ c. warm (105° to 115°F) water
2¼ tsp. yeast
¼ tsp. sugar
3¾ c. flour
2 Tbsp. olive oil
½ Tbsp. salt
½ c. grated parmesan cheese
½ tsp. thyme
¼-½ c. olive oil for drizzling
Parmesan cheese for sprinkling
Coarse salt (sea salt or kosher salt) for sprinkling
Marjoram for sprinkling
Dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water.  Let sit until foamy, 5-10 minutes.

From this...

to this.

Transfer to mixer bowl.  Add flour, olive oil, salt, parmesan cheese, and thyme.

Mix and kneed with dough hook on low until dough is smooth, elastic, and pulls away from edges of the bowl.

Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled, 1-1½ hours in a warm place or 4-6 hours in the refrigerator.

Generously butter 2 baking sheets.  Use a sharp knife to cut dough in half.  Place each piece on a baking sheet and shape into a ½-inch thick round.

Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise in warm place for 1 hour.  Preheat oven to 400°.  Remove plastic wrap.  Using finger tips, create dimples over the top of the dough.

Drizzle with olive oil.  Sprinkle with parmesan cheese, salt, and marjoram.

Bake about 25 minutes, until top is golden brown.  Cut with serrated knife; serve warm.


StaceyN said...

Mmmmmm. We love focaccia bread. I usually make a whole wheat version with hard red wheat flour and serve it with homemade marinara on the side to dip it in. I've never done the dimpling on the top, but I will have to try it since it looks so pretty :-).

Jen in SLO said...

Can you let it rise for longer than 1.5 hours? Like if I had to go out or something for 2-3 hours but didn't want to wait a full 4-6 with a fridge rise?

Sumiko said...

To tell you the truth, Jen, that's sometimes how it ends up when I make it. =-) If I forget to start it in the morning, I do it before nap time and it goes about 2-4 hours before I bake it. It always turns out great!

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