December 8, 2009

Focaccia Bread

A cold, but sunny, almost-winter day, perfect for baking bread. I guess that's one thing I like about winter. Possibly the only one. I discovered this Focaccia bread recipe from my friend Jesika, it's the Joy of Cooking's pizza dough but delicious-er.

Focaccia Bread
From Joy of Cooking

1 1/3 cups warm water
1 package active dry yeast
3 1/2 cups flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar

Combine in a small bowl yeast and water. Let stand until the yeast is dissolved, about 5 minutes.

In a large bowl sift together flour, salt, and sugar. Add yeast mixture and stir until combined. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Divide dough into two and roll each piece out to 1/2" thickness rounds or squares. Cover dough in oil in a square baking dish or a round pie pan. Cover with oiled plastic wrap and place in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. 10 minutes before baking, press the dough with your fingertips to make indentations all over the dough. Drizzle with 1/4 cup olive oil. Top with 2 tablespoons grated cheese, such as Parmesan or Asiago, 1 teaspoon dried herbs, such as rosemary, dill, basil, thyme, or oregano or 2 tablespoons fresh herbs, minced, 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt. Really, let your imagination run wild with toppings. Bake until golden brown, about 25 minutes.

Makes two 8- or 9-inch round or square breads.

Serve warm, slathered with butter or slice horizontally to use as sandwich bread (if it sticks around long enough for that!).