Focaccia is probably the most forgiving bread to make, and therefore great starting point if you are new to yeast baking. The texture will be slightly coarse by its nature, so if your kneading isn’t perfect or whatever, it likely won’t matter.
One of the keys to this bread’s deliciousness is olive oil. It gives the crust an incredible crispness and rich flavors. It comes with more seasoning and a titch more salt than many recipes, making for nothing but more flavor.
In a bowl, add and stir together;
- 1 cup warm water (100 degrees+/-)
- 1 teaspoon instant yeast
- 2 teaspoons sugar
Let sit for 10 minutes. Add and mix to make a shaggy dough:
- 3 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
- ½ teaspoon salt
When cohesive as a dough, turn on to a floured counter or board and knead until smooth. This batch size is small for many stand mixers to knead well. But, if yours works with it, then by all means mix and knead mechanically.
This bread is best when it is about two inches thick. It also benefits from going edge to edge in the baking pan. We used two eight inch cake pans. Put a nice dollop of olive oil in each pan and stretch the dough to cover the bottom evenly. Let rise for about 90 minutes in a warm spot, until doubled in size.
This is where Focaccia becomes fun, and you have some latitude to customize it. Ours is a traditional topping, and we cheat a little by using a commercial ‘Italian Seasoning’ blend to make it easy. You can add cayenne or pepper flakes, heavier cheese, any herb you fancy…have fun!
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
First step is to poke holes in the dough with a clean cylindrical pen or fat wooden skewer, ¼ inch or less diameter. We poked about a dozen holes in each round. Over each pan, pour ¼ cup olive oil and roll it around to cover evenly. On each loaf sprinkle ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning blend and 1 Tablespoon shredded parmesan cheese.
Bake 25 minutes or until well browned and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. Remove from the pan and cool for 5 minutes before cutting into wedges.
Goes great with pasta, but we like the round for a particular reason. When cooled, split like a cake layer. Put some Italian meats and cheese (we used salami, ham, provolone and a flavored Sicilian jack cheese) then warm in the oven until cheese is melted. A perfect group sandwich!