Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Focaccia is a flat oven baked bread. It is often brushed with olive oil, then topped with an herb such as rosemary. Many attribute its origins to Genova. Focaccia is a popular snack, but also a delicious paired with a rich seafood stew to complete a meal. Many of the tastiest breads need a starter dough or require a really long time to rise. What is really nice about this focaccia is that it needs only a couple of hours to rise, and the dough can be made in a snap. This recipe is simply delicious topped with rosemary, but you can be creative. Olives, or onions can also make tasty toppings. Keep it simple, and it is sure to satisfy. Once you make the focaccia, the smell of the baking bread alone will keep coming back for more and more.
1/4 oz. (1 package) dry active yeast
1 2/3 cups warm water
pinch of sugar
5 cups flour
1/4 cup olive oil
3 teaspoons of salt
1-2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
3-4 tbsp olive oil to brush focaccia
coarse sea salt
To start with, combine 1 2/3 cups warm water with the yeast and pinch of sugar and salt. Stir well, and let stand for 5 to 10 minutes, until bubbly.
In a stand mixer combine the 5 cups flour, 1/4 cup olive oil, and 3 teaspoons of salt. When the yeast mixture is ready, add that to the mixing bowl. Use the paddle attachment and beat the mixture on medium speed until the dough starts to come together.
Once the dough is formed, switch attachments, and put the dough hook. Put the mixer to medium speed for about 2 minutes, until the dough is soft and elastic. Knead the dough by hand for a few minutes, then form it into a nice ball.
In the bottom of your mixing bowl, put a few table spoons of olive oil. Roll the dough around in the bowl until it is evenly coated. Then put the bowl in a draft free location, cover it with a kitchen towel, and let it rest for 1 1/2-2 hours, longer if time allows.
When dough has risen significantly, get your 9 by 13 inch baking sheet ready. Give it a nice coating of olive oil, then pour your dough onto it. Spread the dough so that it evenly covers the baking sheet. You can do this with your hands, or use a rolling pin to help you. At this point, cover the dough again with a kitchen towel, and let it rest for at least an hour longer.
When you are about ready to make the focaccia, heat the over to 425 degrees. With your fingertip, make indentations all over the dough. In a small bowl, put the 3 tablespoons of olive oil, then brush it across the top of your focaccia dough generously, so the the oil goes inside the holes. Then, take your finely chopped fresh rosemary, and generously sprinkle it all over the surface of the dough. Next, use a course sea salt, and give the whole focaccia a nice sprinkling.
When the oven is heated, place the focaccia on the middle oven rack. Let it bake for bake for about 20-25 minutes, until it is nice and golden brown all over.
Remove focaccia from oven, let it cool a few minutes before serving if your company can resist. I usually cut it into squares. If there is any leftover, it does freeze well. You thaw frozen focaccia and heat it in a 400 degree oven for about 10 minutes. Otherwise, leftovers will last about a day before starting to taste dried out. This has never been a problem in my household. ENJOY!!!!