Sam’s Focaccia Bread

December 27th, 2005

Easy and tasty, this bread can be cut into pieces for an appetizer or in large pieces as a partner to cheese or grilled meat. Keep in mind that the dough must raise for 3 hours.

the formula
1 envelope active dry yeast
1½ cups cool H2O (approx 75 degrees F)
7 tablespoons of olive oil plus oil for greasing pan
3 cups bread flour, plus flour for kneading
½ cups whole-wheat flour
4 teaspoons kosher salt
2 large cloves of garlic, minced
Generous portions of minced fresh rosemary
1 cup boiling water

Makes a 9x13 inch flat bread.

the procedure

1. In a large bowl sprinkle yeast over the water and stir with a fork to dissolve. Let is stand for 5 minutes. Whisk in 4 tablespoons of the olive oil. In a separate bowl stir together the bread flour, whole wheat flour and a teaspoon of salt.

2. Add flour one cup at a time in to the yeast mixture, stirring well after each addition. When dough begins to come away from sides of bowl, turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead in garlic and rosemary. Make sure to leave some rosemary for the topping.

3. Continue kneading, adding more flour as necessary, until dough is shiny, elastic and no longer sticky. This generally takes about 10 minutes if done by hand. If you have a mixer, check frequently and be sure to not over knead.

4. Transfer dough to a lightly oiled bowl. Spin and turn to coat all sides with oil. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and set aside until dough triples in volume (about 2 hours).

5. Punch dough down and place in an oiled 9x13 inch baking sheet. Press and pat dough until it covers entire surface of the pan. Cover with a towel and let dough rise until it reaches the top edge of baking sheet, about 45 minutes.

6. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Just before baking, dimple dough with fingertips and drizzle surface with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Sprinkle with the remaining rosemary and the remaining 2 teaspoons salt.

7. Transfer bread to middle rack of oven. Put an empty baking dish on rack below bread and pour 1 cup of boiling water into empty dish.

8. Bake until bread is golden brown and well risen, about 20-25 minutes.

9. Remove bread from pan and place on a rack. Brush top with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Cut in to squares and serve warm. Don't forget the olive oil and balsamic vinegar for dipping!

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