Monday, September 24, 2012

Simple Focaccia

 I remember the first time I tasted focaccia bread. It was at one of those Italian chain restaurants where they sing you Happy Birthday in Italian and bring out baskets of warm focaccia to dip into herbed olive oil and devour. I think I was 12. The strange looking puffy yet flat bread was piping hot, spongy and really delicious. The soft bread tasted like I imagined Italy felt.

Since then, I've had some more tastes of the bread, topped with meats and cheeses, even used for paninis and sweetened for a simple dessert. It's time to try and make it. Mostly because I love an excuse to use rosemary.

A note on rosemary...I really love this herb. It's hearty and can be grown most anywhere. It's a treat to see it growing wild in Texas, where the heat can destroy even the toughest of plants. Rosemary is pretty as a full bush but also looks nice if flower arrangements and just to have around the house. It's also a plant that's hard to kill (i.e., forgetting to water it for a month, and it keeps on ticking!). We love to use fresh rosemary but dried is great, too. There's a longer stemmed dried rosemary that we get from Whole Foods. It's by far the best quality I've found, and a little goes a long way. So this was definitely included in the focaccia.

Simple Focaccia
This simple bread is wonderful to make while you prepare the rest of dinner, or while you're around the house for 2 hours. No mixer required. Top the bread with the seasonings/toppings of your choice. Some ideas: Italian seasoning, crushed red pepper, lots of dried rosemary, thyme, chives, sun dried tomatoes, sliced pepperoncinis, red onions, garlic (roasted, cloves, powder), olives, mushrooms, bell peppers, cheeses (mozzarella, parmesan), prosciutto or pepperoni.
Adapted from here
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 TB instant yeast
1 t. salt
1 1/2 cups warm water (110 degrees-ish)
3 TB olive oil
Toppings/seasonings of your choice

STEP ONE: In a large bowl, combine flour, yeast, salt, water, and 3 TB olive oil. Mix for 1-2 minutes, until all combined. Dough will be sticky.

STEP TWO: In a lightly oiled 9X13 baking pan, place the dough, flattening out a bit. Cover with plastic wrap or a towel and let rise in a warm place for 45 minutes, or until the dough has risen and is puffy.

STEP THREE: Remove the plastic wrap and poke the dough all over with your fingers. Drizzle with olive oil (lightly) and top with seasonings/toppings. (I used Italian seasoning, dried rosemary, garlic powder, and a little sea salt.) Bake for 40 minutes.

STEP FOUR: After cooling for 5-10 minutes, slice into squares and serve. (Great for open faced sandwiches, dipping bread in herbed olive oil, side bread for a meal, etc.)
Happy eating!

No comments:

Post a Comment