Recipe: Focaccia bread with herbs

A versatile Italian staple
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Focaccia. Adobe Stock image.

In the vast landscape of Italian cuisine, few breads hold as much allure as focaccia. With a texture that strikes the perfect balance between airy and chewy, each bite of focaccia offers a symphony of sensations that dance on your taste buds.

While focaccia is undeniably delicious on its own, its versatility knows no bounds. Whether served as a side dish alongside a hearty bowl of minestrone soup or transformed into a delectable sandwich filled with layers of savory prosciutto and creamy mozzarella, this bread adapts effortlessly to any culinary setting.

This recipe provided by Mother Tongue Kitchen catering service based in Fennville requires a baking pan, mixer, and oven.

Ingredients

1¾ cups lukewarm water

2 teaspoons instant active dry yeast

2 teaspoons sugar

4 cups all-purpose flour

3 teaspoons salt

4 tablespoons olive oil (and 1½ tablespoons to grease baking pan)

Feel free to add any fresh herbs — Mother Tongue Kitchen recommends using an Italian blend (usually oregano, basil, rosemary, and other similar herbs).

Directions

Step 1
Add the flour and salt into mixing bowl and mix well (and herbs, if applicable). Using a dough hook attachment is recommended. Add the cup of water with yeast and sugar slowly into the dry mixture while the dough hook is mixing. Once done, add the olive oil and continue to mix until it all comes together. Coat a large bowl with baking spray or olive oil and place the dough in it. Drizzle dough with a little more olive oil, and then cover with plastic food wrap and a towel. Place somewhere dark and warm to rise for two hours.

Step 2
Once the dough has doubled in size, deflate it by punching down. Make dimples with your fingers, drizzle with a little bit of oil and place in baking pan.

MTK’s Sara Roper: “I love to bake round focaccia dough loaves in 10-inch baking pans for cakes. I don’t know why, but it just looks so pretty and tall.”

Place the dough in the baking pan and cover it again with the plastic wrap. Let it rise for an hour to an hour and a half.

Step 3
Before baking in the oven, mix 1/4 cup of warm water with a teaspoon of sea salt and pour this into the dimples of the bread so that they catch the salted water. Place in a preheated oven of 425° for 20–25 minutes, depending on your oven. Garnish with additional herbs on top if you’d like. Look up “focaccia art” for inspiration!

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