For the second day of this all-bread week, I turn to a recipe I made recently for focaccia bread. I had purchased some Italian “00” flour from King Arthur Flour with the intent of trying my hand at making pasta, but then the whole kitchen renovation thing got started and I just never got to it. Now that the kitchen is done and I still have the flour I do still intend to make a go of homemade pasta, but first I tried the flour out in this focaccia recipe that King Arthur offers on the bag. If you have never had focaccia before, it is a flat-crusted, oven-baked bread that has a similar consistency to pizza dough and pizza crust. The primary difference between pizza dough and focaccia rests with the amount of yeast used. Pizza dough uses only a bit of yeast while focaccia uses more for a higher rise. I decided I wanted to give the bread a try out using the Italian-style flour to see how it would go.
King Arthur Flour Light-As-Air Focaccia
For the Dough:3 3/4 cups King Arthur Italian-Style Flour
3 3/4 cups King Arthur Italian-Style Flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons instant yeast
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup plus 2 to 4 tablespoons water
For the Topping:
1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
Your favorite herbs (fresh or dry rosemary, thyme, oregano, basil, etc.)
For the dough, mix together the Italian-style flour, salt, yeast, olive oil and 1 cup of water and knead the dough briefly, for about 5 to 6 minutes, by hand or in the bowl of a stand mixer. If you’re using a bread machine, knead the dough for about 8 minutes. If you need the dough to be softer, add more water, a tablespoon at a time, to get the consistency you want. Cover the dough and allow it to rest for 15 minutes. Remove the dough from the bowl and fold it over a few times to redistribute the growing yeast.
Place the dough on a lightly greased or parchment paper-lined baking sheet and pat the dough into a rectangle of about 10 inches by 15 inches. Brush the top of the dough with olive oil and sprinkle it lightly with salt and your favorite herbs. Cover the dough with a piece of lightly greased plastic wrap and set it in a warm place to rise for about 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Just before putting the dough in the oven, use your fingers to gently dimple the top of the dough, about every 2 inches. Bake the focaccia in the oven for 15 to 18 minutes, until it is golden brown. Remove the focaccia from the oven and allow it to cool slightly before cutting it into squares and serving.
The bread turns out perfectly, with a great rise and it has spectacular flavor. I used some dried Italian seasoning on top of the bread to give it some extra flavor and adding some good olive oil to the top works nicely. We all enjoyed the bread, and it can be great to use when you have a crowd over for a large dinner of spaghetti and meatballs or another Italian dish. I know some people use this as the crust for their pizza and I think it would work nicely for that as well. I have seen some people use it as a sandwich bread also. You could make this dough with all-purpose flour instead of the “00” flour, and I have seen recipes doing that, but this flour seems to lend itself nicely to the texture and feel of the bread.
That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!