I’ve been on a serious homemade bread kick for the last few months. I’m shocked that more people aren’t making bread from scratch at home. I feel like there was some secret conspiracy years ago to convince people that bread making was hard. That is simply not the case.
A few weeks ago, I made this beauty for a dinner party:
Now you may note that this bread does not look like focaccia. It isn’t quite as flat as it should be. That is because I sort of messed it up. But have no fear! It is very easy to make and even though mine wasn’t quite as flat as it should have been, it was still very delicious.
1) Add olive oil, water, yeast, sugar, and salt mixed together to form a slurry.
2) Then toss in all your flour. Stir together and use your hands to form it into a good ball.
3) Once dough is together in a ball, let it rise at room temperature for two hours.
4) When dough has risen, roll it out into a large rectangle or oval about 1/2 inch thick. Transfer to a baking sheet that has been heavily oiled.
5) Saute half of an onion, sliced, in a tablespoon or so of olive oil until they were wilted and soft. Chop up a few teaspoons of fresh rosemary and add them to the mix.
6) Add toppings to the loaf and season with salt and pepper.
7) Let this loaf rest for 20 minutes before baking. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Add an empty baking pan to the oven as well on a separate level than you will put your bread.
8) Add dough to oven and also pour about a cup of water into your empty baking pan in the oven which will create a lot of steam. You want to trap as much steam as possible in the oven with the bread.
9) Bake the focaccia for 25-30 minutes at 425. Cook until it’s a nice golden brown and then let cool for a few minutes before slicing and serving.
First, get your olive oil, water, yeast, sugar, and salt mixed together to form a yeast soup.
Then toss in all your flour. Don’t worry about sifting or doing any of that crazy stuff. Once it gets pretty incorporated use your hands to form it into a good ball.
You want to let this ball rise at room temperature for two hours. I’ve totally failed you as a food photographer in the below photos because the dough ball on the right is twice as big as the one on the left. Can you tell that from the photos? Of course not because I guess I took them from different distances or something.
If you use the markings on the bowl, you can see how it has risen.
This bread is pretty moist but can be used right away after the rise. It is best, however, if you let the flavors develop in the fridge for a day or so. Then just put the dough down on a floured surface and form a ball.
Roll it out to a focaccia-like shape. The dough is pretty pliable so don’t worry about being gentle. It should be about 1/2 of an inch thick. Once it is rolled out, transfer this rectangle to a baking sheet that has been slightly oiled. Note: Don’t use a pizza stone for this. The extra oil will just burn and smoke.
For the toppings, I sauteed about half of an onion, sliced, in a tablespoon or so of olive oil until they were wilted and soft. I also chopped up a few teaspoons of fresh rosemary.
The key to this bread is not to put too many toppings on top. If you do, the bread will now brown correctly. In fact, I almost failed at this. This is the absolute maximum amount of toppings you can add I think and still get a decently browned loaf.
Lots of salt and pepper also help. Dribbling some olive oil on top gives the bread the distinct dimples where the olive oil settles.
Let this loaf rest for 20 minutes before baking. During that 20 minutes preheat your oven to 425 and also put an empty metal baking pan on a shelf that won’t interfere with the focaccia baking.
When you pop this in the oven, also pour about a cup of water into your empty baking pan in the oven which will create a lot of steam. You want to trap as much steam as possible in the oven with the bread.
Bake the focaccia for 25-30 minutes at 425. Try not to burn the onions. Just cook it until the bread is a nice golden brown. Let it cool for five minutes, but serve warm.
I think I messed up on two things that resulted in my loaf having a big bubble. First, I think I let the loaf rest too long before baking. I got a little distracted and it probably rested for 40 minutes or so. Also, I think I used too much yeast to start! This wasn’t to the detriment of the flavor. It tasted awesome. It would have been a bit hard to make a sandwich out of it though.
This is just one more notch on my breadmaker belt. I think it will be even better the next time I make it. There were no leftovers this time around though. I’ve learned that baking fresh bread is one of the best ways to build immediate confidence in the kitchen. Even if it doesn’t go perfect, there will probably not be leftovers.