Sunday, November 7, 2010

Herb Focaccia Bread

I found this recipe a few years ago and have spent the last few years tweaking it to suit my family's taste.  It's definitely a family favorite! It's also my go-to recipe to send with homemade spaghetti sauce to new moms or as a "get well" meal. 

Here's the cast list (I've added rosemary because I adore it. Feel free to follow the recipe and leave it out!)

Of course, my small helper wanted in on the action. Mommy does the measuring, but E gets to do the fun part - the "mixing"!

I love how the mix looks as the herbs all get added. 

When I have time, I like to follow the "1/2 - 2xs" rule with the yeast.  If you use half the yeast and double the rise time, your flavors develop more and you have a different depth of flavor. Today, I just followed the recipe.  Rise for one hour (or until doubled). I let dough rise under a damp, warm dish towel (one that doesn't have fuzzies, or else you'll be making fuzzy bread!)

I vary the baking methods as well, depending on what I'm looking for that night.  Some nights, I want a more crisp, flatter bread.  Those nights, I roll the dough to about 1" and follow the baking directions (450 for 15 minutes).  However, this bread tastes quite similar (or better, if you ask my hubby!) than Macaroni Grill bread. So on the nights I'm looking for that comforting flavor, I will leave it more of a thick loaf, lower the bake temperature (usually to about 350 bake convection) and lengthen the cook time (I usually just start pressing on the middle around 20 minutes and go by how much it "squishes." Very technical, I know. Sorry!)

Then we enjoy! 

Here's the recipe, copied from My Wooden Spoon

Easy Focaccia Bread

* 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
* 1 teaspoon table salt
* 1 teaspoon white sugar
* 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
* 1 teaspoon garlic powder
* 1 teaspoon dried oregano
* 1 teaspoon dried thyme
* 1 teaspoon dried basil
* cracked black pepper
* kosher salt
* 1 cup + 2 tablespoons water
* 3 tablespoons olive oil
* 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese

Making by hand:
1. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, salt, sugar, yeast, garlic powder, oregano, thyme, basil and a pinch of black pepper. Mix in 1 tablespoon of olive oil and water.
2. When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead until smooth and elastic. Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl, and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth, and let rise in a warm place for 20 minutes.

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