Homemade Foccacia

May 11, 2013 § Leave a comment

This is a bread recipe that you don’t need to knead, is quick to prepare, and doesn’t need a fancy pan. Also, you get to cover your hands with olive oil and stick them in squishy bread dough, which is reason enough to make it!

It’s my go-to recipe if I’m having people over for appetizers.

Smaller crumb on this batch from a shorter second rise

Smaller crumb on this batch from a shorter second rise

Ingredients

2 cups warm water
1 tablespoon quick-rise yeast
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons truffle oil (or olive oil, if you don’t have it)
1 tbsp cracked black pepper
2 tsp salt
4 3/4 bread flour

Topping

1 tbsp fresh thyme
2 tsp fresh rosemary
2 tsp course sea salt (Maldon is a good option)
If you have don’t have fresh herbs, or resent paying £2 for them at the store (must get herb garden!), use a smaller quantity of dried herbs.

How to make Foccacia

Stir 2 cups warm water and yeast in large bowl, and mix in 3 tablespoons olive oil, truffle oil (or just olive oil to sub), freshly ground pepper, and 2 teaspoons salt. Add 1 cup flour. Stir until mixed in. Add enough of remaining 3 3/4 cups flour, about 1/2 cup at a time, to form dough that is soft, sticky and not completely smooth, stirring until well incorporated.

Oil a separate large bowl, scrape dough in, and cover in plastic wrap. Let the dough rise in warm draft-free area until it’s grown to double in volume, about 45 minutes.

Put a bit of oil on a baking sheet. Slide out the dough onto your sheet and gently pull and stretch dough so that dough almost covers baking sheet. Press fingertips all over top of dough to form indentations. Drizzle a bit of olive oil and sprinkle with thyme, rosemary and coarse salt. Loosely with plastic wrap.

Let rise again in a warm draft-free area until puffed, about 15 minutes. If you’re in a hurry, you can bake it right away, but it won’t have as nice of a rise.

Preheat to 450°F or 230°C. Bake focaccia until deep golden brown, about 30 minutes. Transfer to rack and cool. If you’re not sure it’s done, lift up the bread using a spatula and check the bottom. It should be cooked and a bit hollow to the touch.

Serve beside a shallow dish of olive oil and vinegar, olive oil and good quality sea salt (my favorite), or make it more meal-like with some charcuterie meats, olives, and hummus.

Foccacia with olive oil and balsamic vinegar

Foccacia with olive oil and balsamic vinegar

About yeast

You’ll typically see two different types of yeast called for in a recipe. Traditional yeast (or Active Dry yeast) is what I grew up using- you need to ‘activate’ or proof the yeast before using it in a recipe by letting it sit for about 10 minutes in warm water and a bit of ‘food’ for the yeast, sugar or honey.  Instant yeast can be mixed directly into the dry ingredients (flour) without activating/proofing it. Both work perfectly – I’d suggest sticking to the Instant as it’s easier and lets things rise faster. (It’s also called rapid rise, or quick rise, just to keep you on your toes). Keep jars of yeast in the fridge once you’ve opened it- it’ll last about 3 months. Or, buy the individually sealed packs.

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