Thursday, June 6, 2013

Focaccia Bread

focaccia bread


One evening when I was a young teenager I was watching an episode of Wolfgang Puck on Food Network.  The episode centered around this food I had never heard of before.  Focaccia.  From what I was seeing focaccia seemed delicious.  The next day I found a recipe for focaccia and got busy.  The result was fabulous.  A flavorful, round, dimpled bread drizzled with olive oil and then sprinkled with garlic, parmesan cheese, herbs, ground pepper and salt.  This is one of the strongest cooking memories I have.  It was the first time that I was inspired to make something that I had never even heard of.  I didn't know how to make bread but there was this idea planted that if someone else could do it, so could I.  That's why I want to write this food blog.  I want to inspire people to reach out of their comfort zones and try new things.  Pay it forward cooking addition!  That is what focaccia means to me.  

This recipe makes 2- 8 inch round loaves.  Many people will find this too much to eat in one meal.  In addition to the recipe for the focaccia I will share a quick recipe for a focaccia sandwich.  It is much like the Panera Bread sandwiches that are made on focaccia.  Absolutely delicious and great way to handle some leftovers!

focaccia recipe

Focaccia 

Yield: 2-8 inch round loaves

1 1/2 tablespoon active dry yeast
1 1/2 cup lukewarm water
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
5 cups white bread flour
2 teaspoons salt

Topping
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 chopped garlic cloves
2 teaspoons italian seasonings or a combination of chopped, fresh basil, oregano, rosemary and sage.
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese  
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

Mix the yeast and water together in a large mixing bowl.  Stir in the oil.  Let the yeast mixture rest for 15 minutes.  Stir the salt into the yeast mixture and then stir 2 cups of flour in.  Add the rest of the flour slowly stirring until a soft dough forms.  At this point you will need to start kneading the rest of the flour in.  Knead the dough for about 10 minutes (I often leave it in the bowl to knead it to control some of the mess).  You may not need all the flour.  Let the dough rise in a oiled bowl until doubled in size (about an hour).  Oil 2-8 inch cake pans.  Punch the dough down and divide into 2 balls.  Flatten these balls into disks that will fit into the cake pansPlace the dough into the pans.  Let the dough rise for about 30 minutes.  Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Poke dimples into the dough with your fingers or the end of a wooden spoon.  Drizzle the top of the bread dough with olive oil and then sprinkle with all the seasonings for the top in this order: salt, pepper, herbs, garlic and parmesean.  Place bread in the middle of an oven.  Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.  Transfer focaccia from pans to a rack and cool slightly.  Serve warm.

Focaccia Sandwich 

Yield: 4 servings

1 loaf focaccia
1/2 lb deli turkey
4 slices cheese of your choice
1 large or 2 small tomatoes sliced
mixed greens
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons non-fat greek yogurt
1/3 cup fresh basil, not packed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper


Blend mayonnaiseyogurt, basil, salt and pepper in a food processor or small blender.  Cut the focaccia bread in half creating 2 round disks.  On the insides of both sides of bread spread the mayonnaise mixture.  Create the sandwich by layering the cheese, turkey, mixed greens and tomatoes on the bottom bread and then top with the remaining disk.  Cut the sandwich into quarters.  Serve.

Focaccia recipe adapted from The Cooks Encyclopedia of Bread by Christine Ingram

Printable Recipe




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