Friday, June 21, 2013

Garlic and Herb Focaccia

One time I made focaccia bread at home. When it was done it smelled like garlic and herbs. I let it cool and then I made sandwiches loaded full of delicious things. I even cut off the edges intending to make croutons. 
I snacked on them instead. It seemed like the right thing to do.  Fresh focaccia is like a tiny piece of heaven. Right in your mouth. One thing to be aware of when making this particular focaccia bread is that the taste of your olive oil will be very prevalent. It's important to use good quality olive oil, some oils found at grocery stores today are less than focaccia worthy. So be sure to break out the good stuff for this recipe. 

Garlic and Herb Focaccia Bread

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 large clove garlic, finely minced
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
1/2 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup warm water
In a large bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer), mix the flour, salt, sugar, and yeast. Mix in the garlic and herbs. Pour in the water and olive oil and mix until the dough comes together, by hand or with a dough hook attachment, if using a stand mixer. Knead the dough until it has pulled away from the sides of the bowl (adding additional flour only if necessary – the dough will get less sticky as it kneads), about 4-6 minutes. The dough should be soft and pliable but not overly stiff. Likewise, it shouldn’t leave a lot of sticky dough residue on your fingers. The goal is a soft, supple dough.
Cover the bowl with lightly greased plastic wrap and let the dough rise for 30 minutes, until it is puffy. Deflate dough and allow to rest for 5 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Lightly grease a large, rimmed baking sheet and with your hands, spread the dough out roughly an 8x10 rectangle. Use your knuckles or fingertips to make indentations over the dough, about every 1/2 inch. Lightly brush dough’s surface with olive oil and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until golden brown.
Immediately after removing from the oven, stir together 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt and brush over the surface of the hot bread. Tear or slice into pieces and serve.

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