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Recipe for cooking deluxe focaccia

Recipes from Italy :: Italian Breads and Pastries


Yield: three 9-in. rounds

Dough
1 Tbsp. active dry yeast
1/4 c. warm water (100 degrees fahrenheit)
2 c. water, room temperature
2 Tbsp. olive oil
3 c. (15 oz.) flour, plus a little extra for adjustments
3 c. (15 oz.) bread flour
1 Tbsp. salt
4 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary or sage (optional)

Toppings
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 to 4 tsp. salt and any of the following:
    paper thin tomato slices
    thin slices of onion sautéed in olive oil
    thin slices of garlic sautéed in olive oil
    pitted brine or salt cured olives
    a small quantity of Parmesan cheese
    slivers of pepperoni
    Strips of roasted pepper etc.

Combine the warm water with the yeast in a large mixing bowl and set aside until creamy. Stir in the two c. water and the oil. Add the flours and the salt and mix until the dough comes together. You may need to add a bit of water or flour if the dough is too dry or too wet. Knead the dough using the dough hook of an electric mixer for two mins. on low and then three mins. on med. or 8 to 10 mins. by hand. (Work in the optional rosemary or sage towards the end of the kneading, if desired). The result should be a smooth, elastic dough. Place the dough in a bowl. Cover it tightly with plastic wrap, and leave to rise until double in volume, about 1 1/2 hours.

On a lightly floured board, divide the dough into three equal pieces. Oil three 9 or 10-in. round pans and press or roll out one piece of dough to fit in each of these pans. Cover the pans with plastic wrap or damp towels and leave to rise until doubled, approx. an hour. Meanwhile, prepare any topping ingredients you might need and preheat the oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit.

When the dough is ready, use the tips of your fingers to make indentations about 1/2" deep all over the dough. Brush the focacce with the olive oil and sprinkle and distribute on the salt, using the lesser quantity with salty toppings such as olives or Parmesan. Sprinkle and distribute on the desired topping(s), keeping in mind that this is not a meal or a pizza but a snack or an accompaniment. Bake the focacce for 20 to 25 mins., misting them with water after 3, 6 and 10 mins. Remove from the oven when golden and immediately slide them out of the baking pans and onto cooling racks.

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