focaccia bread

my husband and i are house-hunting and getting more and more nervous about signing our life away on a little piece of property. we are waiting for our agent to get back to us about one house in particular so i thought i would kill some time and do a little baking. we are about to become very house-poor, so making everything from bread to soup from scratch will be a huge help to our hefty grocery bills. welcome to life on a budget. i will miss the careless days of renting and shopping, but we all have to grow up sometime i guess. at least we won’t be living on canned soup and wonder bread.

focaccia bread

1 envelope rapid-rising dry yeast
1 cup warm water
2 tablespoons sugar
3 1/2 to 5 cups flour
2 tablespoon kosher salt
1/4 cup olive oil (plus 2 tablespoons for later)
cornmeal, for dusting the pan
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup grated parmesan
freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped

in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a dough hook, proof the yeast by combining it with the warm water and sugar, stirring gently to dissolve. let the yeast sit for about 3 minutes or until a foam appears. with the mixer on low, slowly add 1/2 the flour to the bowl. add 1 tablespoon kosher salt and 1/4 cup of olive oil. slowly start to add more flour until the dough forms itself into a ball and no longer sticks to the bowl. let the machine knead the dough for you for about 5 minutes. the dough should be smooth and elastic.
form the dough into a smooth ball and place in an oiled bowl, making sure to coat the whole ball with oil, cover with a clean kitchen towel and put in a warm place to rise. let the dough rise until it has doubled in size. (this will take about an hour but, depending on the weather and how warm your kitchen is, it could take up to 2 hours).

coat a large sheet pan with a little olive oil and dust it with the corn meal. turn your dough out onto a counter or board and roll and stretch it into the size of your sheet pan. place the dough in the sheet pan, cover it with a clean kitchen towel and let it rise again until it has reached the top of the sheet pan’s sides. (this will take about 1 hour).

preheat oven to 400 degrees.
mix together the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil with the garlic, rosemary and 1 tablespoon of kosher salt. spread this mixture all over the top of the dough then sprinkle with the parmesan cheese and black pepper. bake on the lowest rack of the oven for 20-30 minutes or until the bread is golden brown. let the bread cool in the pan on a rack.

if you have never tried your hand at baking bread, this is a wonderful recipe to start with. it uses ingredients that most of us have in our cupboards already, and you don’t need any special equipment to make it. this focaccia makes fantastic sandwiches, garlic bread, croutons, bruschetta and pizza bread. it makes such a large loaf, you can even freeze half for later. perfect when you’re on a budget because you just bought your first house and can’t afford toothpaste!

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About jentarantino

i went to culinary school back in the mid 90's where i soon discovered that most of my favorite things to eat begin with celery, carrots and onions; or at the very least, one of the three. i cooked professionally for a very short time, but never stopped being a "home cook". i used the skills i acquired in school to teach myself to bake and kept up on food trends by becoming addicted to cooking shows and food magazines. i will eventually open my own soup shop, but until that happens, this blog will be my culinary outlet. i hope it inspires you to... stand lovingly over a simmering pot, wait anxiously for rising bread dough, frost cupcakes with care, marinate, brine, and most importantly... make it yourself!
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One Response to focaccia bread

  1. Anonymous says:

    This also worked REALLY well for me as a deep dish pizza dough!

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