We are big time bread eaters in our home. I bake all the time. I just enjoy doing it. I do not like treats very much but I do like bread. In Uruguay, bread is delicious. You can almost be walking anywhere in the country and the smell of fresh baked goods will get you from a bakery nearby ar from your neighbor's home.
Focaccia bread is one of my favorites, it is so easy and versatile. It is the BEST "bread base" for homemade breadsticks as well! Usually, I make focaccia bread using a "sourdough starter" in which you put some flour, yeast and water in the fridge overnight and this very sticky and soft dough forms. The bread is phenomenal but it takes time. This other method works as long as you do it as the instructions say. You'll be left with a crunchy bread on the outside and soft on the inside. The infusion of fresh herbs, cheese an olive oil makes this out of this world!
Ingredients for two loaves:
- 1/1/2 cup warm water
- 1 tsp sugar
- 3 tsp SAF yeast
- 4 TBSP olive oil plus more for oiling the pan
- 4 cups all purpose flour
- 1/1/4 tsp salt
- 2 TBSP grated parmesan cheese (or Asiago)
- Fresh thyme or rosemary
Place warm water, sugar and yeast in the mixer bowl, mix and let stand about 15 minutes. Add the salt and the olive oil, mix. Add the flour, one cup at a time and mix well. Knead using dough hooks. Meanwhile preheat the oven to 170 degrees, when it is done TURN IT OFF. Put 1 tsp olive oil in two cake pans (I use round ones) and put them in the oven as it warms up. Put the dough on a floured surface, cut in half and roll until it is the size of your pan. Cast iron skillets work wonderful too! put the dough in the hot pans, cover with towel and put them in the oven, for about 15 to 20 minutes or until it looks puffy. Take them out of the oven and preheat now to 425 degrees. Make indentations on the dough using your fingers. Brush olive oil and sprinkle the cheese and thyme on top. Bake for 20-25 minutes.
If you try it let me know what you think!