Guess who’s getting creative with dough? Yes, me! The person who stated they were wary about yeast. Well, I did it again. I made focaccia bread this weekend. It tasted so good that I ate three of those pieces you see above within one hour of pulling it out of the oven.
No surprise here that I used my hot pizza stone to bake the focaccia on. The results were incredibly delicious! The dough crackled and crunched under the knife. It smelled like caramelized leeks, heady garlic and fresh, yeasty bread. The coarse salt I sprinkled on top heightened the flavours and I just couldn’t resist heading into the kitchen for more.
The next day I made a pot of Greek lentil soup and enjoyed more of the focaccia bread with it. The dough recipe I used made enough dough for 2 focaccia’s, so I placed one in the freezer for another day. I’m already thinking of what toppings to add to the next focaccia I make…sun-dried tomatoes? rosemary? who knows? I just know that it will be awesome!
For the focaccia recipe, I watched a YouTube video. However, I’ve also written out the list of ingredients and steps below. I chose my own add-ins based on what I had available.
roasted garlic – leek focaccia bread
for the dough (takes approx. 3 hours to make)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
2 1/2 tsp dry active yeast
1/4 cup sugar (I used a bit less)
1 cup hot (but not boiling) water with a few drops olive oil
Optional toppings: sun-dried tomatoes, roasted garlic, caramelized leeks, rosemary, oregano, parsley, grated cheese, scallions, thin potato slices, coarse salt,
1. Mix first 3 ingredients in mixing bowl. Add the hot water/oil and mix gently with hands first. Careful you don’t burn your fingers as the mixture may be a bit hot at first. Mix well. until all ingredients are combined.
2. Attach the dough hook to your mixer stand and set it to low-speed for the first minute. Then increase speed slightly. At this point you will need to slowly add another few cups of flour until the dough begins to gather around the hook. Add 1/2 cup of flour every few minutes and wait until the flour has been absorbed by the dough before you add more. I added 2 more cups of flour in total. You may need more – or less than I used. It all depends on the flour you use and the way the dough feels to your fingers. It should not be overly sticky. You may need to stop your machine several times, remove the ball of dough that has gathered around the hook and scrape down sides of bowl. I did this process several times. Towards the end I increased the speed to level 3 on my mixer until it all came together.
3. Remove the dough from the mixing bowl and place it in a large, oiled bowl. Seal the bowl with plastic wrap and cover with a kitchen towel. Place near your warm, preheated oven, to rise for approximately 2 hours.
4. Check on your dough. If it has more than doubled in size or if it has reached the edge of the bowl, it’s time to start punching.
5. Sprinkle flour onto your work surface. Knead dough for a few minutes. Divide ball of dough into two equal parts. Form into two balls and cover with plastic wrap and a dish towel. Allow the dough to rest for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes you will notice that the dough has increased in volume again. At this point you can make 2 focaccia’s or place one in a bag and toss it into your freezer for another day.
6. Either with a rolling-pin or with your hands, form a flat, oval or rectangular-shaped bread. I used my hand to flatten the dough and pushed it outwards to increase its diameter. It was very easy to do as the dough is quite pliable. Remember to sprinkle flour on top of the dough prior to rolling or handling.
7. Transfer your dough onto a baking sheet or pizza stone. My pizza stone was hot out of the oven, so I had to work very quickly! Using your fingers, create dimples on the surface of the dough. Keep doing this until you are happy with the way it looks. Brush some olive oil on the surface. Now you can add your aromatic herbs like oregano or rosemary, your sun-dried tomatoes, caramelized leeks or roasted garlic and your parmesan cheese or coarse salt.
8. Place the focaccia in the oven for approximately 40-45 minutes. Check on it to ensure you are happy with the golden colour on top before you remove it. You can leave it in a few minutes longer if you want a crispier focaccia. My focaccia kept baking even after I removed it from the oven since it was still sitting on the hot stone.
9. Transfer the focaccia to a flat surface and cut it to your desired size. I cut mine into long strips and cut those in half. Enjoy the focaccia while warm and soft, or save some and have it the next day at room temperature. Believe me, it doesn’t get any better than this.