Friday, June 5, 2009

Focaccia Bread

After seeing the photos of our Mother's Day celebration, several people asked for my focaccia bread recipe. I'm pleased to be finally publishing it and apologize for the delay. I will put my little extra comments in brackets.

For the bread dough:
¾ oz fresh yeast
1 1/3-1 ½ cups lukewarm water
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
5 cups unbleached white bread flour [This is usually too much flour. I have found that starting with about 4 cups of flour and slowly adding additional flour during the kneading stage works well. Aim for a stiff but not dry dough. If you live in a more humid climate than I do, though, this might not be a problem.]
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage [or other fresh herb, or ½ tablespoon of a dried herb]
For the topping:
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, chopped
12 fresh sage leaves [or substitute herbs]
~Lightly oil 2 ten inch cake pans.
~Whisk the yeast into the lukewarm water until it is dissolved. Stir in the olive oil.
~Mix the four, salt, and herbs together in a large bowl and make a well in the center. Pour the yeast mixture into the well and mix to form a soft dough.
~Knead for 8-10 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic. [I usually knead it in the bowl, though many people turn the dough out onto a floured surface. This is the step where I gradually add flour.]
~Cover the bread bowl, and let it rise in a warm place for about 1-1 ½ hours until the dough has doubled in size.
~Punch down the dough. Knead it a few times and divide it into two equally sized pieces.
~Form each piece into a ball and then roll them out on a lightly floured surface into 10 inch circles. Place the circles in the prepared cake pans. [Or greased cookie sheets.]
~Cover and let rise in a warm place for about 30 minutes.
~Uncover the bread, and poke through the dough with your fingers, making deep dimples all over the bread.
~Drizzle the topping olive oil over the breads, then sprinkle each one evenly with garlic. Evenly distribute the herbs too.
~Re-cover the bread and let it rise for 20-30 minutes more.
~While the bread is rising, preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
~ Bake the loaves for 25-30 minutes until they are golden.
~Immediately remove the focaccia from the pans and transfer them to a wire rack.
~Enjoy! (The bread is best served warm.)


Heidi said...

Yeah! Thanks for posting this. I can't wait to try it!

itsystitch said...

looks like really awesome bread!