Go Italian with Focaccia!

Our friends at Wildgirl Blog offer another delish doughy recipe for you to try.

Focaccia is an Italian bread made with olive oil and seasoned with herbs and sea salt. It’s wonderful with salads, or just by itself with a saucer of olive oil and balsamic vinegar or a soft cheese. Over Christmas, we used it to soak-up callaloo or the redbeany sauce of oxtails. Even those who don’t like to put their hands in dough will enjoy kneading this bread. Cook in a hot oven (400º F or 200º C) and it’s done in 30 minutes. This recipe is derived from the Bon Appetit or Epicurious online cookbook (http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Focaccia-with-Sage-323) and will be perfect with the smallest effort.

Water – one cup (human warmth)
Yeast – one teaspoon
Salt to taste
Brown sugar – two teaspoons
Flour – three heaping cups plus some
Olive oil – quarter cup

For topping:
Olive oil – quarter cup
Rosemary – fresh crushed leaves, tablespoon
Chadon beni – 6 or 8 leaves clipped in small pieces
Sea salt – teaspoon

Add brown sugar and yeast to water and leave to ferment, 15 minutes to half-hour.

Add flour and mix with olive oil. Knead the ought to combine well. Dust with a little flour if it is sticky. Olive oil keeps this dough silky and soft. Cover and set aside in  warm place to rise an hour or more.

Punch down dough, dust with a little flour and knead. Cut in two to roll out. or you may roll out in one large rectangle to fit your pan. I find it easier to roll out two smaller pieces. When rolling, leave the dough to relax for a few minutes as you shape it.

Grease pan with olive oil. Allow the dough to rise again, an hour or so.

Mix rosemary or shadon benie into olive oil with salt, for topping. Heat oven to 400ª F or 200º C.

When the dough has raised, use your finger to put a few indentations in the surface and spoon the olive oil topping over the top.

Bake for 30 minutes. The bread will be golden brown. Remove from the oven to coo. Cut into squares for serving.

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