Cooking From Scratch - Focaccia Bread
We just had the best Focaccia bread with our dinner tonight. I like Focaccia bread because it is faster to make than other homemade breads. The seasonings that you put on top give it a different flavor than other breads too. You can change up the flavors depending on what you are having for dinner, or even add a sweet topping for a dessert bread.
If you haven't made homemade bread before this is a very easy bread to start out with. It only uses simple ingredients, it is fast to mix up, the rise time is short and there is only one rise time, and it cooks fast. Perfect for my busy days.
1 tablespoon active dry yeast (this is cheapest bought in bulk at a wholesale club)
1 & 1/4 cups warm water
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 - 2 1/2 cups bread flour
2 teaspoons olive oil
Put the yeast in a large mixing bowl and add 1/4 cup of warm water. Let is stand for a few minutes to dissolve the yeast. If needed stir gently. Mix the salt in with the rest of the water and stir to dissolve. Add this to the yeast mixture and stir together. Add 2 &1/4 cups flour and stir vigorously until mixed well. The dough will be sticky.
Sprinkle some flour on your work surface and scrape the dough out of the bowl onto it. Knead gently with floured hands for about two minutes, adding more flour as needed to keep the dough from sticking to anything. Wash out your mixing bowl, dry it and oil it lightly. Place the dough in the bowl and spin it around a little to grease it all over. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let it rise until doubled in size. This will probably take an hour or so depending on how warm your kitchen is. I will put it on the stove and then turn the light on in the oven and that helps the bread rise faster.
Once it has doubled in size turn out the dough onto a floured work surface and pat it down into a flat, circle shape. It might be sticky and that is fine. Once you have it in a circle transfer it to your baking pan that you have sprinkled with cornmeal. If you need to add some of the olive oil to the top to continue stretching it out you can. I did not need to do this.
At this point it is time to add your toppings. Tonight I put the olive oil into a small bowl, added one garlic clove minced, and 1/2 teaspoon of rosemary. I brushed this on top. A sweeter topping is cinnamon and sugar. You should brush the bread with oil lightly and then sprinkle the cinnamon and sugar on top. Another good one I have made before is to brush the top with oil, add chopped up sun-dried tomatoes and then sprinkle with cheddar cheese. Really you could add any topping you are interested in, whatever sounds good to you.
Once you have added the toppings, you are ready to bake it. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Once it is heated cook for 25 minutes. Remove and serve warm. This goes really well with soup. Enjoy!
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