Focaccia Bread Tutorial

I have been trying to duplicate this wonderful focaccia that my friend, Judy, makes. After several tries it did come out almost exactly like her's. This is really good. It bakes up about 3" high and has wonderful flavor. It tastes delicious split with butter or used for a panini sandwich. It takes about 4 hours from start to finish but of course with any yeast bread it has 2 risings and so it is something to make when you have work to do around the house and can stop every once in a while to punch it down or roll it out. It is not hard to make. Here is the tutorial for it:
Focaccia Bread
Put 3 cups warm water in a mixing bowl with 2 T. active dry yeast, then add 1/4 cup sugar. Let sit for at least 5 minutes without stirring. It will look like this all foamy and bubbly: Mix it together at this point. Then add 4 cups flour and mix well. Let it sit for 30 minutes in the bowl to make a sponge (it becomes bubbly and gains in volume.)
Now add 1 T salt, 1/4 cup chopped fresh garlic and fresh herbs of your choice. I like rosemary and thyme. I put the salt, garlic, rosemary and thyme in the food processor to chop.
Add 1/4 cup olive oil and 3 cups flour. Mix until smooth, but not kneaded. The dough should be soft, not stiff and stretchy. Now use about 1 more cup of flour (a total of 8 cups flour). Knead it about 1-2 minutes. This dough is not a stiff dough it is softer and stickier than regular bread dough.
Proof the dough by allowing it to rise until double. I put it in a larger bowl to give it room to expand.
This is how it looked before (previous picture) and after:
Punch it down. Pour it out of the bowl and onto a jellyroll pan with sides (13" x 17" ) (not a regaular cookie sheet) that has been sprayed with oil. Spread it evenly with your fingers into the pan: (Spray your hands with Pam first)
Rub the top lightly with olive oil. Cover it lightly with a towel. Let it raise until double. This will take anywhere from 30 minutes to 2? hours depending on the temperature of the house and where you put it. I put hot water in the bowl it just came out of, then put the jellyroll pan with the dough in it over the bowl by a heat register and it rises quite fast.

Bake it at 375 degrees for about 25-30 minutes. Make sure the bottom of the pan is in the middle of the oven. When done the top will be a light golden color. Don't let it get brown or it will be over cooked. The bottom does not get brown but make sure it is cooked through by lifting up a corner to check.
It will rise a little more in the oven as it cooks and get light golden on top (and smell delicious) when it is finished baking. Yum!
This pan makes 24 nice size square pieces or you can cut it larger for more "manly" size sandwiches. (This was the last lonely little piece left, a side piece which is not as high and it is out of focus, sorry)

There are many things you can do with the dough: leave out all the herbs, add chopped olives or add them to the top, sprinkle the rop with rock salt, sprinkle with cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, caramelized onions, coarse salt--anything goes! It is delicious as is or cut in half horizontally and used for panini sandwiches. It is worth the effort. Enjoy!


jenjen said...

That focaccia bread is heavenly! Thanks so much for sending some home with us! We have been munching on it all week!!!


Marie said...

That looks delicious Jean! I Love focaccia bread. Homemade just has to taste so much better! Yours looks fabulous!

Chrissy said...

That looks so good. I don't dare try to make it....I'm not so good at baking bread. But they do have good focaccia bread at Kneaders, I'll have to stick w/that!