Garlic and Herb Focaccia

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This week, Amber and I are at her parents’ place in Ortonville, Michigan. Just about four hours away from the comfort of my own kitchen, I realized I needed to make this week’s bread in a foreign place. When I heard that dinner was to be lasagna, I decided to go with a simpler, quicker bread: focaccia. I’ve been looking forward to making some bread that I could slather in flavorful herbs and garlic. This week is my chance.
(Note: I can’t say the word focaccia without either thinking “Gesundheit” or “Watch your language!”)

This focaccia recipe is adapted from The Paupered Chef, a blog I discovered recently and will read voraciously until I’m full up and cannot read any more.

I modified Blake Royer’s (originally Nigel Slater’s) Olive and Parsley focaccia recipe because I’m not a huge fan of olives (besides not having any) and because I had limited options for ingredients and equipment. (Also, I’m arrogant and can’t help but to screw with perfectly good recipes.) The first recipe I needed a scale for and I don’t have my new kitchen scale – go figure.

This came out delicious and crunchy. The outside was nice and crusty, due to the healthy dose of olive oil both in the pan and on the top of the bread. The inside was pure bread, with a great texture that made me want to soak up every bit of sauce from my plate.

One last note before the recipe: I tossed in about a cup of wheat flour, mixed with the white bread flour. It definitely carried a little bit of the wheat taste and color, but it didn’t mess up the recipe as much as my previous attempts at substituting wheat for white flour. I think it helped to mix it, but I’d say the wheat is definitely optional.

Garlic and Herb Focaccia

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cups of hot water (105-115˚ F)
  • 3-4 1/2 cups bread flour or all-purpose
  • 2 teaspoons yeast
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • minced garlic (or some garlic salt)
  • parsley, thyme, basil, or pre-mixed italian seasonings
  • a sprinkling of cornmeal

Directions

Mix the flour, yeast, and salt in a mixing bowl. Add some of the water and mix (I love stand mixers, but feel free to do this with a heavy spoon or a fork). Add the water slowly and continue mixing until the dough is sticky but starts to pull away from the bowl. Knead the dough by hand for 5-10 minutes, or use the handy-dandy dough hook attachment for your stand mixer. Either flour lightly (to prevent sticking) or place in a greased bowl. Cover with a tea towel and allow it to rise for one hour (until doubled in size).

Grease a a 9×13″ metal pan (I’m not sure how glass would affect it) with olive oil and sprinkle some cornmeal. Punch the dough down and place in the pan, spreading roughly to the edges. No big deal if it doesn’t reach the edges, the whole goal is a nice flat bread with a somewhat rustic shape. Try to spread it evenly, so the bread cooks at the same rate. Cover with a towel and allow to rise for another 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 425˚ F. Mix the olive oil (3-4 tablespoons) and whatever herbs sound like they should go together. If you use real garlic, mix that in as well. A light pinch of salt is probably a good idea. But if you use garlic salt, don’t add any more salt. And use it sparingly. I recommend tasting a bit of this mixture to see if it carries the flavors you want.

Bake for 25 minutes or so, until it is lightly browned. Don’t let it burn. 🙂

Cool for a few minutes, but as Blake says you should eat it warm.

Notes

I wasn’t positive how to slice this, so I went with bread stick sized chunks by slicing narrow slabs and cutting those in half. I wish I’d had a bowl of marinara sauce for dunking.

3 Responses to “Garlic and Herb Focaccia”

  1. This is in the oven right now, though I went with olives and measurements in grams (since I had a scale today) from the original recipe. Otherwise, nice and simple!

    Its ballooning up quite a bit in the oven, but I’ll assume that’s cool.

    Looks delicious. Can’t wait to sink my teeth into those olives 😉

  2. Dannie Wince says:

    Do you have any idea of several nice recipes for pizza dough without yeast?

  3. simon says:

    hi im a baker and a bakery manager and stumbled along this post y trying to imrove my own recipe i have a tip for the shaping and cutting of your bread once ur dough is mixed roll into a ball (head) and leave for around 5-10 mins then pat down to make a circlue like you would pizza dought then using a metal scraper or sharp knife cut right through (best to do thison the tray ur goingto bake it on) top 2 botton left to right then diaginol +x togher this will cause it to proof up and join back togher but once baked u can easly tear our sections and use for dupping

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