Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Focaccia - The grandparent of the modern pizza!

Focaccia is the great grandparent of the modern day pizza!  You can bake this bread today, and capture the flavors that date back to the times of old.

Enjoy it next to your favorite Italian meals.  The recipe here is a guideline.  By all means, adapt it to your tastes.   You can turn this into amazing garlic bread.   Don’t like onions, omit them.   There are no limits what you can do with this Italian recipe.

•    1 packet active dry yeast
•    1 ½ cups warm water
•    1 tablespoon brown sugar
•    4 bread cups flour
•    ½ cup corn meal OR semolina flour
•    1 tablespoon sea salt
•    ¼ cup olive oil plus 3 Tbsp for topping
•    1 small onion, thinly sliced
•    ½ teaspoon dried rosemary, crumbled
•    ½ teaspoon dried oregano
•    ½ teaspoon dried basil


•    Dissolve the brown sugar in the warm water, then add yeast  and let stand for 15 minutes
•    Add the ¼ cup of olive oil.
•    Add the flour, corn meal,  1 ½ tsp of the salt and mix in your mixer using the dough hook for about 15 minutes, alternatively, you can kneed by hand, but choose to use the mixer.
•    Coat with olive oil, place in a bowl and cover.   Let rise for about 45 minutes, until the size of the dough ball has doubled in size.
•    After it has doubled, punch down the dough and cover again.   Allow it to rise again for another 45 minutes.
•    Coat a Jellyroll pan, Square Pizza Pan or something similar with olive oil.    Press the dough into the pan using your hands.  Press it out all the way to the ends of the pan, making a lip around the edges.  Using your fingers or knuckles, make indentations across the whole surface.
•    Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for about 15-20 minutes. While it is rising, preheat your oven to 450 degrees.  If you have a bread stone, preheat it at this time.
•    Mix the topping: in a bowl add the remaining salt oil and spices.   Mix well.
•    Remove the plastic wrap and evenly coat the focaccia with the topping.   Be gentle when doing this.
•    Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until golden brown.
•    Cover the focaccia with foil, so that it doesn’t brown too much more and bake for another 15 minutes.
•    Remove from oven, remove foil and slice into rectangular pieces.  I use a pizza cutter to do this easily.

When making this, use your imagination.   You can put some thin sliced tomatoes, minced garlic, or whatever you desire.

I hope you have enjoyed making this Italian focaccia!   It is an excellent addition to your bread baking repertoire.

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