Perfect Focaccia Bread

I dream of breads!
Honestly, I do! My love for bread is undying! Even when I was advised to avoid gluten, I experimented with gluten free variations. There’s nothing more seductive to me than the art of making bread!

In my early cooking days, I was scared of making bread. (You are too, right?) The process of kneading and proofing sounded other worldly to me. Or may be I was just shamelessly lazy to do all the work. Anyways, I got over my “fear” of baking bread and powered through the process. The first bread I made was dense and mealy. Second attempt was better but too soft to be called bread. By the third attempt I had gained the virtue of patience by some magic and my bread actually tasted like bread. By the following day it turned hard like a rock. I had to toss that one out. Eventually I learnt to leave the yeast alone and let it take its time to rise and flourish in the dough. After quite a lot of pathetic experiments, I made a decent bread that looked, tasted and behaved like a bread.

You all know Focaccia is an Italian flat bread, often topped with herbs, onions or olives. The most usual combination is rosemary and olives. I find this bread great for making Italian sandwiches and as an accompaniment to soups. I generously slather pesto on a slab of halved Focaccia, top it with marinated roma tomatoes, fresh mozzarella slices and shut it close with the other half. A simple caprese sandwich is ready to chowdown.

An important thing to remember about Focaccia is that unlike other breads, it needs a lot of olive oil to keep the moisture intact. Unless thats done, the resulting bread will be dry, hard and crumbly. Thats not what we want! We want a soft bread that, as soon as its out of the oven, can be cubed and dipped into some balsamic and olive oil and devoured with a glass of dry red wine.

There’s hardly any kneading required if you have a stand mixer with dough attachment.  I promise this recipe will produce a fine quality soft bread that you’ll consider baking over and over again. If you do try it, please leave me a comment here sharing your bread story or tag me on Facebook and Instagram.

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Perfect Focaccia

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Prep time: 2-3 hours        |    Cooking time: 25 mins        |    Serves : 3-4
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Category: Bread
Cuisine: Italian, Vegan, Vegetarian
Serving suggestion: With Soups or Balsamic and Extra Virgin Olive oil or to make sandwiches
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Ingredients:

  • 4 cups + 2 tbsp / 30 oz Unbleached all-purpose flour + 1/4 cup more for dusting
  • 1+1/2 cups warm water, 110-115 degree F
  • 1 packet or 2 tsp Active Dry yeast (I use Fleischmann’s brand)
  • 2 tsp salt + 1 tsp coarse salt to top
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 cup Extra Virgin olive oil + more to drizzle
  • 7-8 black kalamata olives, pitted and sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 + 1/2 or 2 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped
  • pepper

Method:

  1. Mix the yeast water and half the sugar in a bowl briefly and set aside till it foams, approx 5-10 mins.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the 4 cups flour, remaining sugar and 2 tsp salt. Mix to combine.
  3. Add the olive oil and start the mixer on speed 1. Add the yeast water and turn up the mixer speed to 2. If the dough seems too sticky and does not come together or sticks too much to the bottom of the bowl, add another 2 tbsp flour. Turn off the mixer when the water and flour are well combined to form a soft sticky dough.
  4. Sprinkle flour on work surface or kitchen platform. Turn the dough on the surface and form into a large ball by tucking in edges to the back of the ball.
  5. Drizzle olive oil generously in a large glass bowl. Put the dough ball into the greased bowl, first seam-side up then seam-side down.
  6. Cover tightly with a plastic wrap and keep in a draft-proof place like the oven or microwave with the appliance switched off. Let it rise to double its size for 1 hour 30 mins or more if necessary.
  7. Liberally grease a jelly roll pan or small baking sheet with olive oil. Take the dough out on the sheet and stretch it with your fingers to cover the pan area. Poke with your finger tips to form dimples or dents on the dough.
  8. Drizzle some more olive oil. Sprinkle coarse salt, pepper, chopped rosemary, sliced garlic and olives. Cover with plastic wrap and keep it back in the oven/microwave with the appliance turned off, for 30-40 mins.
  9. Take the dough out of the appliance and then preheat the oven at 400 degree F. Bake the bread for 20-25 mins until a golden-tan crust forms on top.
  10. Let it cool slightly before serving. Serve warm.

NoteStore in a ziploc bag for a couple of days on counter top. 

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8 thoughts on “Perfect Focaccia Bread

      1. Please don’t miss out on yummy things if you don’t need to. I understand your caution though. You might want to get properly tested if you haven’t already.

        Like

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