Focaccia Bread

If I could recommend one, single “go-to” bread for any home cook, this would be on my very short list of suggestions. It’s quick and SO easy to make.  No special proofing or kneading tricks are needed and you have an endless way to season it to your liking!  After several years of regularly making and tweaking the recipe, this is our family favorite.
The ingredients are very straightforward: Bread flour, water, active dry yeast, salt, pepper, dried herbs, olive oil, and grated Parmesan cheese.  As always, I like to find the best quality ingredients I can afford.  Cooking scratch food is so FAR cheaper than buying packaged or processed, I think the additional money is well worth if for the gain in quality!

And, I always BUY LOCAL whenever possible, as my first buying option.  For example, I use a basil infused olive oil from The Olive Twist (and yes, they ship if you live outside the NE Indiana area!)  You can substitute plain extra virgin olive oil, make your own infusion, or add a bit of extra herbs and get an equally good result.

Dough preparation is easy.  All ingredients go straight into a stand mixer, then to a 30 minute proof, and finally spread out on a greased sheet pan.  There is no kneading on a floured board.  The dough is tacky, and benefits from coating with oil to keep it from sticking to the proof bowl and the baking sheet.  


For the dough:

2 3/4 cup bread flour

2 T dried rosemary
2 T extra virgin olive oil or your favorite infusion of olive oil
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 cup warm water (~105F)
1 tsp. granulated sugar
1 T active dry yeast
pinch ground black pepper
1 greased sheet pan, ~ 17″ in length
For the topping:
1 T extra virgin olive oil 
1-2 T grated Parmesan cheese
sprinkle of dried thyme or rosemary
Preheat oven to 450F
Measure all dough ingredients and place all in stand mixer.
As they say, “Everyone in the pool!”

Using a dough hook, mix until a dough ball forms and peals from the sides of the bowl.  Start on a low and increase blade speed as the flour is incorporated.  If it appears too sticky, you may need to add a pinch of flour.  Watch how I stop the mixer when the dough ball is completely free of the mixing bowl.  That’s when it’s done and ready for proofing.

Place the dough in an oiled bowl. 
Cover with a damp towel and proof for 30 minutes.
Grease a baking sheet (17″ in length is perfect) with cooking spray or a light rub of olive oil.
Oil your hands and spread the dough out to about 1/2″ to 3/4″ thickness.  Try to keep the thickness as uniform as possible.
Lightly oil the top of the dough, punch small holes with a fork, sprinkle with herbs and grated Parmesan cheese. 
Approximately 17″ X 5″.  Just use your hands.  The dough is quite forgiving.
Bake in a 450F oven for 15-18 minutes.
Cool on a rack, transfer to a cutting board and cut into squares.
Enjoy!  We like to dip the squares in some extra virgin olive oil.  Perfect to go with Soup or Pasta!
This entry was posted in Buy Local, Focaccia, Quick Bread. Bookmark the permalink.

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