Homemade Focaccia

OK, first thought that comes to your mind when I say Italian . . . waiting . . . say it!  FOOD!  That’s right, most people associate FOOD with ITALIAN and for good reason.  Let’s not forget art, fashion, sports cars, etc. . . but honestly, Italians know their food.  And I am willing to bet most people think pasta and pizza more specifically.  But I’m only thinking of FOCACCIA!

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Focaccia is an oven-baked flat bread from Italy.  If you are wondering what “focaccia” means, let me tell you.  Focaccia comes from the Latin word meaning “hearth”.  But honestly, I don’t really care about what it means.  I simply love this Italian bread whatever you want to name it.

Focaccia’s signature characteristic is it’s deeply, dimpled surface.  Dimples . . . that word alone can make me smile!  These dimples are created by the practice of “dotting” the bread with one’s fingers.   “Dotting” creates multiple wells over the surface of the bread where olive oil can pool . . . oh yes, that is the secret to it’s goodness!

Of course, you can buy focaccia (so done that) . . . or take a trip to Italy (would love that!), but why not bake your own?  Yes, this is one of those breads that is . . .FUN!  I am going to declare focaccia the bread you should make with family and/or friends.  Get everyone involved.  How cool to have everyone’s fingers (without saying, of course, clean fingers) “dotting” the dough?

Well, that is exactly what my family did.  And to spread the focaccia joy a bit further, we brought a loaf to our friends’ home.  I must add, homemade focaccia, as a gift, makes a stunning presentation!  And the taste . . . out of this world!  So get into your kitchen this weekend with a few simple ingredients and maybe some italian music to set the mood and make your own FOCACCIA.

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Simple is the way I go with most things, so we made a classic rosemary and sea salt topping.  But don’t feel you need to stick with a classic.  If you are the adventurous type . . . go wild. Searching the web (or your imagination) will lead you to tons of different and delicious toppings for your focaccia.  As long as your focaccia is well dimpled, most anything you fancy on top will do. No matter how you personalize it, I truly hope you give this classic, italian flat bread a try . . . and soon!

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FOCACCIA

1 package (.25 oz) active dry yeast

1 cup warm water

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

3/4 tsp salt

2 tsp minced fresh rosemary

3 cups all-purpose flour (reserve about 1/4 cup for kneading)

*As with most bread recipes, you might need a little more or a little less flour.

Mix ingredients in bowl until a sticky dough forms, then knead on a floured surface along with an additional 2 tbsp olive oil for about 8 minutes.  By then, you should have a smooth, elastic dough which is slightly sticky.

Let dough rise until doubled(about 45 minutes), flatten it onto a well oiled pan, let it rest for 15 more minutes.

Drizzle with more olive oil (yes, that is the secret to it’s goodness) and begin “dotting” the entire surface with your fingers.

Let it rise again for 45 minutes.  Then, brush a last time with olive oil and top with rosemary and sea salt.

Bake at 475 F/240 C for about 15 minutes.

Just eat it . . . maybe even add a bit more olive oil.  Why not? They do in Italy!  And come on, you are practically there or at least your tastebuds are!

To making your own focaccia . . . one well-oiled dimple at a time! Hugs, M.

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