Wholesome and Delicious Focaccia Bread

As the days grow shorter and the nights cooler, my thoughts naturally turn to baking.  I know it’s just the beginning of August but for some reason, the weather in my neck of the woods seems to be saying “bake”.  I love to make fresh, homemade bread for my family.  I remember when my kids were in high school, during the cooler months they would rush home from school to see if I had a fresh pan of focaccia bread waiting for them.  Most of the time I did, especially if it was September or October time frame.  After November hits, my thoughts move on to the holidays and I’m done with baking bread every day.

This recipe for focaccia bread is super easy, fast, and delicious.  The first part is the bread itself.  You can flavor this with your favorite herbs and make it your own.  The second part, I will give you the measurements for my Rosemary Parmesan Focaccia bread.  It is wonderfully delicious to the point that I usually have to make two pans because my son can’t seem to get his fill.  Anyway, season the bread however you want and make it your own.  Also, please share your ideas for different seasonings with me in the comments section of the board.  I would love to have your input.

Focaccia Bread

Proofing the Yeast

1/2 c warm water (water temp should be 105 to 110 F so you don’t kill the yeast)

2 1/2 t dry yeast

1/2 t sugar (this is to feed the yeast and get them to grow)

In a small bowl, combine the above three ingredients and set aside until the yeast has bloomed.  It will look like the picture below.

Focaccia 1

Making the Dough

16.9 oz. bread flour

1 T olive oil (I like to use on the my flavor infused olive oils)

1 1/2 t kosher salt

1 1/3 water (approximately)

Add the water (I don’t add all the water at once.  The actual amount of water you will use varies a lot and is based on the humidity in your home, and the dryness of the flour.  So start with about 1 1/4 c and add as needed), olive oil, flour, and salt to the proofed yeast.  Mix until a dough forms, adding water as necessary.

Knead by hand for about 10 minutes   OR

Knead by machine for about 5 minutes

The dough will look like velvet and will have an elastic feel when it is ready.

Focaccia 2

Let the dough rise in a lightly oiled bowl (a large one) that is covered in plastic wrap.  It will take about an hour and a half.

Focaccia 3

Lightly oil a half sheet baking pan and pat the dough out into the pan.  You may have to let the dough rest for 20 minutes several times in order to get the pan covered.   This is the gluten fighting back and letting the dough rest will give you some more time to stretch it into place.

Focaccia 4

Let the dough rise again until double in size.  Should take about 1 hour.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.  Then using your fingertips, dimple the dough.

Focaccia 5    Focaccia 6

Drizzle with olive oil (again, I use flavor infused olive oils).  After the oil, sprinkle with your favorite herbs, salts, fresh cracked pepper, shredded cheese, etc.

Focaccia 7     Focaccia 8

Bake your focaccia at 400 degrees F for about 15 – 20 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 180 degrees F or higher.  Let cool for 20 minutes, cut into squares or rectangles and serve either alone or with herbed olive oil.

Focaccia 9     Focaccia 10

OPTIONS:  There are any number of different flavor options.  Whatever your mind can conceive.  Here are some of our favorites:  Rosemary/Parmesan; Smoked Sun-Dried Tomato/Basil; Thyme; Garlic/Rosemary; Onion/Smoked Cheddar; Feta/Olive, etc.  This is also the recipe I use for homemade pizza dough.  Try the baking the focaccia on the grill with a pizza stone.  It is wonderful.  Tomorrow I will be posting recipe ideas for Herbed Dipping Oil so be sure to check back then.




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