Herb-Flavored Focaccia

  • Active Time 20m
  • Total Time 3h 35m

Makes two 8-inch roundsServing 4

Focaccia dough is softer than pizza dough, yielding a nearly cakelike interior once it is baked. Baking the focaccia in cake pans results in rounds 1 1/2 inches thick, perfect for pairing with an unlimited variety of panino fillings or slicing to serve plain as an accompaniment to any meal. If you prefer a crisp crust, drizzle the dough with a generous amount of olive oil before baking. For a soft crust, brush the focaccia with olive oil immediately upon removing it from the oven.

ingredients

  • 2 1/2 teaspoons (1 package) active dry yeast
  • 1 cup lukewarm water (105 degrees F.)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus flour for kneading
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • Extra-virgin olive oil for brushing
  • Coarse salt

directions

In a large mixing bowl, stir the yeast into 1/4 cup of the lukewarm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes. Stir in the remaining 3/4 cup lukewarm water and the olive oil. Add 1 cup of the flour and the salt and whisk until smooth. Add the chives, thyme and rosemary and mix well, then stir in the remaining 1 cup flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until the dough comes together in a rough mass.

On a lightly floured work surface, knead the dough until smooth and velvety, 8-10 minutes. It will be soft. Lightly oil a bowl, place the dough in it and turn the dough to coat with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and put in a warm place to rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 1/2 hours.

Divide the dough into 2 equal portions and knead briefly. The dough is now ready to be stretched and topped, or baked plain as directed below. You may also store the dough, as directed for the Neapolitan pizza dough opposite, until ready to use. If you prefer thinner, more resilient focaccia, stretch out the dough into a larger pan.

If plain focaccia is preferred, lightly oil two 8-inch cake pans. Place each portion of dough in a prepared pan and gently stretch it out to the edges, pulling it from the center outward to achieve an even thickness. If the dough springs back toward the center and is difficult to work with, cover and set it aside for 10 minutes to relax, then continue coaxing the dough out to an even thickness. Cover the pans with kitchen towels and let rise until almost doubled in bulk and very soft and puffy, about 45 minutes.

Preheat an oven to 475 degrees F. Using your fingertips, dimple the dough in several places, leaving indentations about 1/2 inch deep. Again cover the pans with towels and let rise for 20 minutes longer.

Bake until golden brown and cooked through, 15-18 minutes. Remove from the oven and immediately brush the tops with a generous amount of extra-virgin olive oil, then sprinkle with coarse salt. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Recipe reprinted by permission of Weldon Owen. All rights reserved.

RecID 2072

nutrition information per serving

151 calories; 4g total fat; 0mg cholesterol; 292mg sodium; 24g carbohydrates; 1g fiber; 4g protein

These nutrition facts are calculated according to the ingredients listed in this recipe. Any substitutions will change these facts. Although we strive for accuracy, please note that food manufacturers occasionally change their food formulas, which could affect the calculations as shown.

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