easy

Focaccia

Focaccia beginner

HOMEMADE

This one is a real crowd pleaser - it looks wonderful, and it tastes even better. It is a variation on a traditional Italian focaccia. Thanks to a lot of olive oil on the outside, it has a crusty, slightly fried taste, making it wonderful as an appetizer. Inside it is filled with sundried tomatoes, Italian herbs and fried onions.

Equipment:

Pretty basic: cup, bowl, spoon, 2 pie pans, oven. No bread machine!



Ingredients:

1 onion, red or yellow, fried until soft.
2 tablespoons of dried rosemary or Italian herbs.
3/4 cup chopped sundried tomatoes.
1 tsp of sea salt ( also known as kosher salt)
2 tsp of regular table salt
2 tsp of dry active instant yeast
4 cups of white all purpose flour
1/2 cup of olive oil

Steve's Foccacia

Printer-friendly recipe

Before starting the dough, dry the onion until soft, using 2 tbsps of the olive oil ina skillet. Fry on medium heat until they go soft, about 7-10 minutes. Meanwhile, chop the sundried tomatoes into half-invh long chunks. When the onions are done, place them on a plate to cool.



Getting the dough started

Place 2 teaspoons of the dry yeast into a large mixing bowl. Add 2 cups of warm water from the tap. The water should be hot enough that it just starts to hurt your finger, which is around 104 degrees F. Give the yeast and water a stir. Leave it for ten minutes until a scum forms on the top.

Next, add the 2 teaspoons of regular fine salt.( The coarse sea salt will be used at the end of the recipe. )

Slowly mix in two cups of the flour, stirring constantly. Once it feels like a batter, add in the herbs, onion and sundried tomatoes. Sir them in, and slowly add the next two cups of flour. Near the end of this, it will get too stiff to mix easily with a spoon. It's time to use your hands.

Fold the dough in half within the bowl, and press down with your hands. Fold the dough over again, pressing down to make a flat shape. Keep doing this folding and pressing for two minutes. Don't worry if the onions and sundried tomatoes stat to fall out of the dough. Some will, and that's okay. The dough can only hold so much.

Lift the dough out if the bowl and knead it with your hands above the bowl, folding it into itself. The dough's texture should become elastic. If it still feels sticky, put it back into the bowl, add a little flour and fold and press some more. The dough is ready when it doesn't feel wet, and it hangs together if you hold it over the bowl using just one hand. If you're not sure, watch the video.

The First Rise



The dough is now ready for the first rise. Take the dough ball out of the bowl, and place it on the counter. Clean out the bowl, then add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, pushing it around with your hands. Place the dough ball into the bowl, and cover it with a damp towel.

Let is rise for an hour, or until doubled.



The Second Rise



Once the dough has expanded to twice its normal size, take the towel off and punch the dough with your fist so that it deflates. Get both hands in there and squeeze and knead the dough for a minute.

Next, divide the dough into two pieces of the same size. Mold them until they are round balls. This recipe makes two loaves.

Focaccia is supposed to be flat, so take one tablespoon of olive oil and grease a pie pan. Push one of the dough balls into it and flatten it with your hands so that it covers the bottom of the pie dish ( same kind of dish you would bake a pie in). Cover with a damp towel for an hour. Do the same with the other ball in another pie dish. If you don’t have two, use a casserole dish that can go into the oven.

Time to Bake



After an hour, the dough should have doubled in size, probably filling the dish. Take the towel off.

Preheat the oven to 400F.

Now there are a few steps we don’t usually do with other kinds of bread. You want to ‘dimple’ the dough. Press into the top of the dough with all five fingers a few few times, making 10-15 indentations. Do the same thing to the second dish’s dough. Return to the first and drizzle 2 tablespoons of olive oil over the dough. It will pool in the dimples. Next, toss a teaspoon of herbs across the dough. Finally, sprinkle the coarse ( aka kosher) salt over the dough – about half a teaspoon. Do the same with the second dough.

Note: if any pieces of sundried tomatoes are sticking out on the surface, remove them, since they will burn.

Once the oven is the right temperature, place both in to bake for 22 minutes. Check on them at the 20 minute mark. What you want to see is a crusty brownish bread, but not dark brown. Look at the video’s start to see what it should look like.

Let them cool for 15 minutes before taking out of the pans. You may need to gently dig them out with a spatula since sometimes they stick a bit on the edges.

Serve as an appetizer as is, or put some balsamic vinegar and olive oil in a shallow bowl, and dip the bread in. Very yummy.

Congratulations!