Focaccia has always been one of my favorite breads with its crispy golden outside and moist and soft insides. You can eat this bread alone, dip it in olive oil or bake with with toppings such as peppers, tomatoes or olives. You can even make a pizza with it. I stuck with one of the most classic Italian recipes with this one.
Also common is the practice of dotting the bread. This creates multiple wells in the bread by using a finger or the handle of a utensil to poke the unbaked dough. As a way to preserve moisture in the bread, olive oil is then spread over the dough, by hand or with a pastry brush prior to rising and baking. In the northern part of Italy, lard will sometimes be added to the dough, giving the focaccia a softer, slightly flakier texture.
2-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon white sugar
2-1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 garlic cloves, diced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1 pinch ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil plus more for topping
1 cup water
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
3/4 cup shredded Mozzarella
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1. Start by proofing the yeast. In a small bowl add yeast, sugar and enough warm water to cover, stir and allow to sit until frothy, about 5-10 minutes.
2. In a large mixing bowl add flour, salt, garlic, oregano, thyme, basil, 2 tablespoons oil and water. Mix until well combined. Knead dough for 5 minutes. Add some oil onto hands and carefully cover the dough ball with oil, not working into the dough. Place back into bowl. Cover and sit in a warm place for 30 minutes.
3. Pre-heat oven to 450F. Place a pan of water onto bottom rack for extra moisture. Punch dough down. Brush oil generously on a baking sheet or stone. Place dough onto pan making a round or rectangle shape. Evenly press fingertips all over dough. Cover and allow to sit until oven is ready.
4. Brush oil on top of dough. Sprinkle top with garlic salt, Parmesan cheese, Mozzarella and black pepper. Place into hot oven and bake for 13-15 minutes until bread is golden.
Yields: 12 servings