Foccacia is an italian bread that is easy and tasty and can be varied with lots of different spices and veggies. It is sort of like a simple pizza dough - in fact I was thinking of trying it for a pizza dough soon! - but is also really great accompaniment to soups or salads to add some flavour and substance. And fresh baked bread is always great!
Duration: about 90 Minutes
Utensils: cookie sheet
Cooking surface: Oven
Oven Temperature: 475 / 245 degrees
Mixing the dough together works with a hand mixer or food processor but I like to do the whole process with my hands. Kneading dough is a great meditation-like exercise. While kneading, try not to break the outer surface of the dough by gentle motions and keeping the kneading surface lightly floured. Too much flour on the kneading surface makes the dough too stiff, too little and it will stick. Never put flour on top of the dough, always on the surface. It just works better.
1 teas sugar
1 package active dry yeast
1/3 cupwarm water (110 / 45 degrees)
2 cups flour
2 Tab olive oil
1/4 teas salt
In a small bowl, dissolve sugar and yeast in warm water. Let it stand until creamy, about 10 minutes. In a large bowl, combine the yeast mixture with flour; stir well to combine. Stir in additional water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until all of the flour is absorbed. When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead briefly for about 1 minute. Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 475 / 245 degrees.
Deflate the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface; knead briefly. Pat or roll the dough into a sheet and place on a lightly greased baking sheet or onto baking parchment. Press your fingers into the dough at regular intervals to make the characteristic dimples. Brush the dough with oil and sprinkle with salt. Bake focaccia in preheated oven for 10 to 20 minutes, depending on desired crispness. If you like it moist and fluffy, then you'll have to wait just about 10 minutes. If you like it crunchier and darker in the outside, you may have to wait 20 minutes.
After the dough has risen and before baking, you can add things to the dough while you knead it the last time. For example
2-3 oz black and or green olives chopped. I also add about 2 Tab of chopped onion.
Black Olive and Rosmary Foccacia
Push pitted black olives and small sprigs of fresh Rosmary into the dimples before baking.
Dried Tomato and Oregano Foccacia
2-3 oz dried tomatos, and fresh or dried oregano.
This is really an easy recipe and I don't think much can go wrong. It is important that the yeast is bubbly so that it rises enough and my oven takes sometimes longer than 15 minutes to get it really golden but it is still something anyone can make and have it turn out great.