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Thursday, 23 March 2017

Focaccia Bread - Easy to Make

Original Recipe By: Eileen Little (my Mom)

Recorded and adapted by: Miriam Borys Busby
1st proof  (letting dough rise)

3 pkg. instant yeast (3 X 8g or 7 tsp.)
2 ½ cup of warm water (not too hot or it will kill the yeast)
½ cup olive oil + ¼ cup for drizzling
2 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. white sugar
1 egg
6 1/2 cups flour + flour for kneading
Dry herbs of choice (1 tbsp. each of rosemary, thyme, oregano)

1 tsp. cracked salt for the top of the focaccia
1/4 cup corn meal to line the pan

In a large liquid measuring cup measure the warm water and then add oil, sugar & egg. Whisk with a fork. Add yeast and stir. Leave this mixture for a few minutes to activate the will bubble up on the surface as the yeast 'blooms'. If your yeast does not bloom it should not be used.
Add flour, salt and herbs to a large mixing bowl or a stand mixer bowl if one is available. Pour yeast/water mixture into the flour. 

shape dough & add toppings
Mix with the dough hook or by hand until the bread dough comes together into a ball and cleans the bowl.
Transfer to a workable surface and knead for 5 minutes, adding flour so that the dough does not stick to the surface.
Once the dough is smooth, form into a large ball and place in an oiled bowl. Turn the dough over in the oil so that all the bread dough is covered in oil. Cover with parchment or a tea towel and allow it to sit in a warm place. This is the first rise and the dough needs to double in size. This takes approximately 45 minutes.
When the dough has doubled in size, punch down the bread dough.  Remove the dough from the bowl and place into the middle of a large baking pan coated with corn meal. Shape dough by gently pulling (don't tear) the dough so that it stretches into a large rectangle shape (see photo). Once the dough is shaped, make indentations in the dough with your fingertips (this is to allow the olive oil to pool).
Drizzle approximately 1/4 cup of olive oil over the surface. Sprinkle with fresh or dried herbs of your choice (Italian seasoning works well) and lightly sprinkle salt over entire surface.
2nd proof
Allow to proof for the 2nd time until the dough has risen above the baking sheet doubling in size (another 45-60 minutes).
When the 2nd prpoof is complete reheat oven to 400°.  
Bake focaccia for approximately 25-30 minutes until golden brown.
Serve with a dipping bowl of olive oil and balsamic vinegar sprinkled with dried or fresh herbs.
baked focaccia
1st rise

punch down 

shape the dough - use cornmeal on the bottom of the baking pan

shape the dough to fit a baking sheet & proof for the second time


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