Every so often the world is absolutely perfect. This is the moment you retrieve your lightly golden brown, homemade, steaming hot, fresh focaccia bread from the oven and hack off a small slice. My small piece could easily be compared to the size of a small chihuahua, but who’s watching, right? Trust me, I will not judge which small scale you use when it comes to this bread.
Focaccia bread is very versatile and can be easily customized to suit any set of taste-buds. First, I will show you how to make the dough and then we will discuss toppings!
You will need:
cookie sheet, baking stone, parchment paper, basting brush, electric mixer, and plastic wrap
4 cups flour, ½ cup olive oil, 1 ½ cups water, 1 T yeast, 1 T sugar, ½ tsp salt, and ½ cup chopped green onion
Toppings of your choice!
Start by pouring 1½ cups warm water into an electric mixer with a pinch of sugar and 1 T of yeast. Stir until combined and then let it sit for 10 minutes undisturbed. The mixture will be foamy.
Once it’s good and mixed, add in ½ cup of chopped green onion and an additional cup of flour.
Let the mixer run for 2-3 minutes. Switch to the dough hook and stir in 2 more cups of flour ¼ cup at a time. Once all the flour has been incorporated, set the timer for 6 minutes and let the mixer knead the dough on medium low speed. Do not skimp on the kneading time.
If you are kneading by hand you will easily burn enough calories to eat ½ the loaf. That’s if your arms aren’t too tired to shovel it in your mouth!
Cover the top loosely with plastic wrap and let it rise in a draft-free space for 20 minutes.
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Turn the dough out onto parchment paper and press it out into a large oval shape. The dough should be flattened to about ¾ of an inch thick, and will basically fill up a standard size cookie sheet.
Brush the top of the dough lightly with a basting brush and olive oil.
Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let it rise for 1 hour.
Now your dough has risen for an hour, use your finger tips to make a whole bunch of little divots all around the dough pressing almost to the bottom of the pan.
Brush on the additional ¼ cup of olive oil and sprinkle about 1 tsp. of coarse sea salt over the top. You want the olive oil to sink down into the divot craters you have created. As the dough rises again the divots become pockets inside the bread, keeping it moist during the baking process.
Now for the toppings!!!
The dough is now your canvas and you are the artist, put on your painters cap and design your work of art.
Here are a few of ingredients ideas that I tend to gravitate towards: cherry tomatoes halved, feta cheese, salt, garlic, fresh basil, fresh thyme, roasted red peppers, kalamata olives, green olives, artichoke hearts, and parmesan cheese.
If you choose to use the tomatoes, cut them in half and roast them in the oven for 5 minutes on high broil. This will help the juices release ahead of time and won’t make your bread too wet and soggy.
This particular day I made 2 loaves of bread.
The first loaf I added Italian flavors: roasted red peppers, basil, garlic, artichoke hearts and grated parmesan cheese. This was a definite winner.
The second loaf I went for more Mediterranean flavors: kalamata and green olives sliced into circle for visual aesthetic, fresh chopped rosemary, and feta cheese. T’was truly my favorite creation thus far.
Here are a few other ingredient combinations that work well together. I love using a bit of cheese because it gets toasty brown and adds both flavor and texture to the focaccia.
Once your toppings are in place, let the dough rise for 1 additional hour. Place a baking stone on an oven rack ⅓ way up from the bottom of the oven and set the temperature for 425º. Let the oven heat for 20 minutes prior to baking. Set the cookie sheet directly on the baking stone and cook for 15-17 minutes or until the top is a light golden brown color.
This has got to be one of the prettiest breads I have ever made and the taste most certainly did not disappoint!!!
There is no rule on how to cut it. You can make squares or rectangles. You can even set the entire thing on the table and let people rip off a piece.
My husband likes to cut a large square or rectangle, slice it in half so there is a top and bottom. Then, he make sandwiches using salami or whatever lunch meat we have laying around.
Congratulations, YOU are now a fococcia artist and your world, if only for a moment, is perfect!
Focaccia Bread Perfection
- Tools: Cookie sheet baking stone, parchment paper, basting brush, electric mixer, and plastic wrap.
- 4 cups flour
- ½ cup olive oil
- 1 ½ cups water
- 1 T yeast
- 1 T sugar
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ cup chopped green onion
- toppings of your choice
- Dissolve 1 T of yeast into 1/12 cups warm water with a pinch of sugar. Let it sit for 10 minutes, the mixture will be foamy.
- Add: 1/2 cup olive oil, 1 tsp salt, 1 T sugar and 1 cup flour. Using the whisk attachment, mix until the mixture is totally combined.
- Next, add 1 cup flour and 1/2 cup chopped green onion. Continue mixing with the whisk until mixture is combined and creamy. (about 2 minutes)
- Switch to the dough hook. Add remaining 2 cups of flour ½ cup at a time, kneading on low speed for roughly 5-6 minutes. Do not skimp on the kneading time.
- Dough will be soft and slightly sticky.
- Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let it sit in a draft free area for 20 minutes.
- Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper and apply a non-stick cooking spray.
- Place the dough onto the prepared sheet. Flatten the dough into an oval 3/4 inch thick.
- Brush the top with olive oil and loosely cover with plastic wrap.
- Let the dough rise for 1 hour. The dough will be 1 ½ -2 inches thick.
- with your fingertips, make indentations all over the surface of the dough pressing almost to the bottom of the pan. Brush on an additions 1/4 cup of olive oil.
- Brush on the additional ¼ cup of olive oil and sprinkle about 1 tsp. of coarse sea salt over the top. You want the olive oil to sink down into the divot craters you have created. As the dough rises again the divots become pockets inside the bread, keeping it moist during the baking process.
- Add desired toppings.
- Once your toppings are in place, let the dough rise for 1 additional hour.
- Place a baking stone on an oven rack ⅓ way up from the bottom of the oven and set the temperature for 425º. Let the oven heat with stone in place for 20 minutes prior to baking.
- Set the cookie sheet directly on the baking stone and cook for 15-17 minutes or until the top is a light golden brown color.
- Cut into slices and serve, or rip off a piece and enjoy!