Today is a baking day. I decided to test my skills with yeast breads. I have never made a yeast bread by hand before, I have used a bread machine, but that is not the same thing by any means. Foccacia bread is a simple bread to start with. A little history of the focaccia is in order to start us off. Focaccia or ‘fougasse” is basically a flat bread that has olive oil and herbs, sometimes cheeses, vegetables and meats added to the top for flavor. It’s believed to be the forerunner to the modern day pizza. This food timeline site gives much more information, for those who want to learn more. It’s amazing how far back in history certain foods originate from.
I found my original recipe at IFF for Rosemary Focaccia bread but did some searching for a video on “punching down” the dough after it rises and found this video showing the step by step methods for making Rosemary and cheese focaccia bread, which I am all about the cheese! I am also taking my own pictures, as much as possible when I am alone here, so I can have a photo album of me making the bread, to pass down to my children and grandchildren.
Cast of characters!
Makes 1 Focaccia
by Deborah Mele
1 Pkg. Active Dry Yeast
1 1/2 Cup Warm Water
4 Cups All-purpose, Unbleached Flour
1 Teaspoon Salt
6 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons Fresh Chopped Rosemary
Dissolve the yeast in 1/2 cup of the warm water, and let sit 10 minutes until bubbly. In a large bowl, combine the flour, Ts. of salt, yeast mixture and remaining water as needed to make a workable dough. Mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon and then your hands. Transfer to a floured work surface and knead by hand for about 5 minutes or until smooth.
Place in a well oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise until doubled, about 1 1/2 hours.
Punch down and place on an oiled baking sheet, forming into an oval or circle. Dimple the top surface with your finger tips, and then drizzle with the oil and sprinkle with coarse salt and rosemary.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Bake about 20 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Variations: Instead of the rosemary, you might add 2-3 tablespoons of fresh chopped sage to the dough with some Fresh Parmesan on top. Other alternatives are sliced olives, thinly sliced zucchini or thinly sliced onions. Such cheeses as grated Parmesan, Mozzarella, or Fontina are also good.
Deborah Mele 2002
These photos belong to me, the blog owner, MAL.