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Focaccia (Bread)

I love making bread!  This bread is so easy and baked in a sheet pan.  It smells absolutely wonderful when it is baking.  It is very versatile.  It can be used to make some killer sandwiches when plain 'ole store bought bread is tasteless and boring.  It is also delicious served with soups and salads or alongside your favorite Italian dishes. 

 

You can use whatever herbs you like best.  I have tried several different combinations, but this one is my favorite.  It is also pretty tasty with Trader Joe's "Everything But The Bagel" seasoning blend.  What you season it with is entirely up to you.

I have my own recipe, but I would highly recommend that you watch Anne Burrell's Youtube video on how to make Focaccia before embarking on this for the first time.  While our recipes differ a bit, she demonstrates her technique for creating the holes in the crust that proves to work well every time! 

The biggest difference between my recipe and Anne's is the fact that I put bread crumbs on the pan before adding the dough to it.  This creates a crispier crust on the bottom and because I use seasoned bread crumbs, it gives it another layer of flavor.

Ingredients

5 cups plain flour

1/2 tablespoon kosher salt

2/3 cup olive oil (divided in half)

1 tablespoon active dry yeast

2 cups warm water

1 tablespoon sugar

1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs

Herbs/Spices (You can be creative here.  These are just my favorite herbs!)

1 tsp of each:

Rosemary

Thyme

Garlic Powder

Kosher Salt

Directions

  1. Combine warm water (not hot) with the sugar and yeast in a small bowl or measuring cup.  Allow this to sit until you see the yeast has bloomed.  You will know it is ready when a layer of foam is on top.

  2. Using a dough hook on an electric mixer, combine the salt and flour.  Add half of the olive oil and the yeast mixture.  Knead on low for 5 minutes.

  3. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead a few times.  Place the dough inside a bowl that has been coated with a little oil to keep it from sticking.  Cover with plastic wrap and place it in a draft-free location until it has doubled in size.  This should take about 45 minutes to one hour.

  4. Using a large sheet pan or jelly roll pan that has been coated with more olive oil, sprinkle the bread crumbs evenly on the pan.

  5. Gently press the air out of the dough and turn it out onto the sheet pan.  Using more olive oil, coat the dough and use your hands to press down while creating holes in the dough with your fingers.  

  6. When the dough has been pressed onto the pan to meet the edges and there are plenty of holes in it, sprinkle the herbs on top.

  7. Place it in a draft free location and allow it to rise again.  This should take about 45 minutes.

  8. Cook in a 450 degree oven for about 20-25 minutes until it is nice and brown.