What is your favorite dinner for a busy weeknight? For me, it is quick and easy mexican corn soupwith freshly baked focaccia bread – PERFECTO!! I enjoy eating my focaccia bread with warm soup but my kids love the traditional way. Their favorite way to eat this bread is by dipping it in olive oil- parmesan – black pepper mixture. Super yummy! Focaccia is flat-bread topped with various herbs and olive oil and baked to perfection. Making your own homemade bread may seem like a daunting task, but it’s a pretty straight forward recipe.
RECIPE DETAIL – Just like any other bread, focaccia dough is also prepared by proofing the yeast mixture and adding that to the flour. Let is rise for at least an hour in a warm place. I like to season my focaccia bread with Italian herb seasoning, but if it’s not your favorite you can leave that out. There are endless possibilities to flavor this bread – chili-garlic sauce, basil-garlic mixture, plain focaccia, add red bell peppers and olives to the dough and so on.
After the dough has risen, spread it in a baking tray and let it sit for another 20 minutes. The dough doesn’t need to double in size in this proofing – a slight rise is okay. Poke small holes or wells in the dough, sprinkle your toppings and bake for 20-25 minutes. The dough will rise and expand during baking, bake until golden in color. Remove from oven and cool the bread on a wire rack and allow it to cool completely before slicing.
This bread comes out crispy and crunchy on the outside and soft and fluffy from the inside. Enjoy this aromatic and flavorful focaccia bread dipped in olive oil – pepper mixture and enjoy!!
2tablespoonAll purpose flour - to finish the dough
2teaspoonCoarsely crushed black peppercorns
CHANGE SERVING SIZE: SERVINGS
Assemble ingredients for the dough.
In 1/4 cup of tap water, dissolve sugar and yeast and let it sit for 10-15 minutes or until frothy and thick.
Yeast will look like this. If your yeast fails this step - please discard the yeast and start all over again. Do not proceed to the next step or you will end up with dense and sticky bread.
Combine all the ingredients mentioned under "Dough Ingredients" (except 2 tablespoon flour mentioned at the last) in a big bowl.
Pour in activated yeast and the remaining 3/4 cup of water to knead a dough. Cover the bowl loosely with wet towel. Let the dough rise in a warm place for 1-2 hour.
The dough will double in size and look like this - all fluffy and airy.
Poke a finger in the dough and make a indent (or a small hole with your finger) in the dough. If the hole/indent remains and the dough doesn't bounces back that means dough is ready for the next step.
Remove the dough from the bowl dust it with some flour and start kneading the dough. This step is necessary – if the dough is not kneaded well, bread will turn out dense. Dough elasticity and gluten formation is enhanced by kneading.
Punch it, squeeze it, and knead the dough for 10 minutes. Make a smooth ball.
Grease a baking tray and transfer dough onto that baking tray. Stretch the dough to fit the entire pan. Cover and let it sit for another 20 - 40 minutes. Preheat oven @400 degree F.
Meanwhile assemble ingredients for the topping.
Uncover the dough and using your finger or spoon poke holes or make wells all over the dough.
Sprinkle black pepper...
Sprinkle rosemary and Parmesan cheese.
Drizzle olive oil all over the dough.
Place it in the warm oven and bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown in color.
Beautifully baked focaccia bread.
Remove from the oven and let cool slightly before cutting and serving.
Light, airy and fluffy focaccia bread is ready. Serve it with a steaming bowl of your favorite soup and enjoy!!