Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Basic Focaccia

Basic flavourful Focaccia Bread
I love focaccia. I mean who doesn't!

It's such a light, airy and flavourful bread that's perfect on it's own as an appetizer or as the platform for a main dish.

I mostly make this recipe as a side. The fact that you can cook it in one big dish, cut it into squares and serve makes this bread perfect for parties and BBQs.

This bread can also be used for sandwiches......
Sliced turkey with tomatoes, onions and pesto! Dry, thinly sliced Italian Salami with cheddar, arugula and mustard! Tomato, basil, mozzarella and balsamic vinegar! Oh how I love focaccia sandwiches!

The best part about focaccia is that it's so easy to make. Sure there's yeast and a couple rises but you don't need to shape the dough at all. Just mix, knead, rise, punch, roll out, place in dish, rise, top, bake! Yay! No braiding, loaf forming or bun shaping!

The toppings is where you can go-to-town. Anything goes: olives, onion, sauteed onion, garlic, grapes, Parmesan, rosemary, dried basil and oregano, sea salt, jalapenos, cheddar....I could go on and on!

I hope I've made you hungry. Now go make some focaccia!

Basic Focaccia
slightly adapted from Food Network

Ingredients:
  • 2 teaspoons yeast
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 1/2 to 4 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon coarse salt (I use 1 tsp)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil (I use canola)
  • 2 tbsp of olive oil (again...I use canola)
  • toppings of your choice (I used rosemary, minced garlic, garlic and onion powder in the focaccia pictured)
Directions
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, add the warm water, yeast and sugar. Let stand 5 minutes until the mixture starts to foam. Turn the mixer on low and slowly add the flour and salt to the bowl.   Pour in 1/4 cup olive oil. Add the flour cup by cup until you reach 3 cups. Then add 1/4 cup at a time until you reach the right consistency (not too sticky). As the dough starts to come together, increase the speed to medium. Stop the machine periodically to scrape the dough off the hook. Mix until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes, again...only adding more flour as necessary.
  2. Turn the dough out onto a work surface and fold over itself a few times. Form the dough into a ball and place into an oiled bowl, turn to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled - about 45 mins to an hour.
  3. Coat a 9X13 inch glass baking dish with a little olive oil. Once the dough is doubled, punch down, roll out into a rectangle between 1/2 inch and 1 inch thick. Lay the flattened dough in the dish and cover with plastic wrap. Rest for 30 minutes.
  4. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Uncover the dough, brush the surface with the 2 tbsp of olive oil and then add desired toppings. Bake in the bottom half of the oven for 15 to 20 minutes. 

Light and airy Focaccia