In my kitchen, you’ll seldom find me happier than when I am baking bread. Yeast breads are the comfort food of my youth and something I truly enjoy baking. Focaccia bread is one simple recipe and if you’re new to baking breads, let me tell ya… you can’t mess this up. There’s no silly shaping, no intense scoring of the loaves or anything. Basic techniques and great flavors make up this simple loaf of bread. Too often, focaccia bread in the U.S. is super thick, and the texture lacks. This recipe will make up for those shortcomings with rich flavors and good texture. Serve alongside soups, spaghetti and meatballs, sliced into a scrumptious sandwich or cubed or cut to size for dipping in hot or cold dips at parties.
Today we hung around close to home and shored up a few things around our place. My husband handled chores (happy gift to me). Today for some reason, I’m chilled to the bone. I made a simple soup I’ll share with you this week, that reminds me of my Grandma and always warms me up.
Speaking of warm, the pigs in our big barns are warm, the pigs outdoors are cold and nesting deep into their bedding… as they should. The piglets out of Vanilla Ice Cream and Sandra are enjoying time together, as we pulled the divider between their pens. They play and fight and carry on, just for fun. Once the fun is over, they all go and lay under the heat lamps. We moved the heat lamps higher up in the air, away from the pen a bit, because as the pigs get bigger, they need a little less warmth to be satisfied.
Here’s a look at this delicious bread after I snipped a bit off for my son as his afternoon snack. He was horrified when I put butter on it for him (who knew). Warning… cell phone picture.
Authentic Foccacia Bread
Makes 1 large flatbread style loaf
By: Cristen foodandswine.com
2 packets active dry yeast
2 C warm water
1 TBSP sugar or honey
3/4 C + 2 TBSP olive oil, divided
5 C King Arthur All Purpose Flour
1/4 C King Arthur Pizza Dough Flavor OR grated parmesan cheese
1 TBSP kosher salt or 2 tsp table salt
2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
1 tsp kosher coarse or sea salt
- Combine yeast, warm water and sugar in large mixing bowl. Mix together and let stand until foamy, 10 minutes.
- Add 1/2 C olive oil (reserve the rest for oiling the baking sheet) and all of the rest of the ingredients. Stir to combine until mixture comes into a shaggy ball.
- Turn out and knead by hand for 6-8 minutes, or alternatively, mix in stand mixer fitted with dough hook for 5-7 minutes until smooth and elastic.
- Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap and place in a warm area. Allow dough to rise until double (45 minutes). Punch dough down and let rest 5 minutes.
- Add remaining 1/4 C olive oil to half sheet pan (15x11x1 inch pan), spread evenly. Turn rested dough out into the greased half sheet pan, pressing into an even layer.
- Press fingertips through the dough to create small holes all over dough.
- Spray dough with nonstick spray and cover with plastic wrap. Set in warm area to rise until double again, 30-45 minutes. In the meantime, preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
- When dough is puffy, remove plastic wrap carefully so dough doesn’t stick(this is why the nonstick spray trick is important). Drizzle 2 TBSP olive oil over dough, press fingers down through dough again, taking special care to press into puffy areas.
- Sprinkle coarse salt/sea salt over the olive oil. Place loaf into preheated 425 degree F oven and bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown and hollow sounding when tapped.
- Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool to warm. Serve warm or at room temperature.
- Store leftovers in airtight container, once completely cool.
NOTES: *Serve with hot soup, spaghetti and meatballs, or slice and make into a sandwich. As an appetizer, cut into cubes and dip into hot or cold dips. **Any combination of herbs can be used. Fresh rosemary and thyme are my favorites. ***King Arthur does not compensate me to tell you about their products. I love this Pizza Dough Flavor, it makes all the difference. A great substitute is Parmesan Cheese, still delicious. Do you have a baking stone? Place it in the oven prior to preheating, then put the baking sheet directly onto the stone, this extra heat will help the development of the bottom crust.DIP IT: If you want to have the full Italian eatery experience, place 1/4 C olive oil, 3 TBSP Balsamic Vinegar, 2 TBSP Parmesan Cheese and salt and pepper on a rimmed plate. Dip warm bread into this mixture.