Focaccia by Juanita

posted by Juanita 02-15-101 2:38 PM

Focaccia Bread
Makes eight 6-inch rounds or one 11 x 17-inch rectangle
From The Herb Companion, Oct/Nov 1991

4 tsp. dry yeast
Pinch sugar
2 cups warm water (105—115 degrees)
1 tsp. salt
About 5 cups unbleached all-purpose or bread flour
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

In a two-cup measure, sprinkle yeast and sugar over water and let stand until dissolved and foamy, about 10 minutes.

In a large bowl or the work bowl of a heavy-duty mixer, combine salt and 3 cups flour. Stir in yeast mixture and olive oil and beat hard 3 minutes. Add flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until dough clears the sides of the bowl.

On a lightly floured surface, knead to form a springy ball, adding only tablespoon flour at a time as needed to prevent sticking. Dough will remain very moist and pliable. Place dough in an oiled bowl; cover with plastic wrap, and let rise until doubled or tripled in bulk, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. You may also let dough rise, then punch down and place the bowl, well covered, in refrigerator for up to two days before baking. (You’ll probably need to punch it down once more a couple of hours after refrigerating.)

Rosemary and Oregano Focaccia

One recipe focaccia dough
Cornmeal, for sprinkling
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 1/4 tsp. dried rosemary
1 tsp. dried leaf oregano

Prepare focaccia dough and let rise. If dough has been refrigerated, it may take about 2 hours to come to room temperature and rise.

Place dough ball on a work surface. Use heel of hand to press and flatten dough. Lift and gently pull dough, stretching to fit an oiled and cornmeal-sprinkled 11 x 17-inch jelly roll pan. (Note: I just use a cookie sheet.) Cover gently with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, 30 minutes to an hour.

Meanwhile, combine olive oil and herbs. Let stand 30 minutes. Place baking tiles or pizza stone on lowest rack of a cold oven and preheat at 450 to 500 degrees for about 30 minutes.

With fingertips or knuckle, gently poke some indentations in the surface of the dough. Drizzle herb oil over dough, letting it pool in the indentations. Reduce oven temperature to 400 degrees. Bake on hot tiles 20 to 30 minutes, or until nicely browned. Serve warm from the oven.

Note: Sometimes I drain a jar of marinated artichokes and cut into large pieces, drain a can of black olives, and/or slice a sweet onion and add these to the top of the focaccia just before baking.

Cut into large squares and serve with olive oil for dipping or slice horizontally for sandwiches.

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