I will be up front with you. I do not consider myself a very good baker. I have enough knowledge to be dangerous, and I make a pretty great pizza dough, and I do love making bread, but it is something that I am not doing on a consistent basis. I will also admit that I love making bread dough and having the aroma of yeast scatter throughout my house on a Sunday afternoon. There is just something about making dough, waiting a bit of time, watching it rise, and getting it in the oven, that is just plain interesting to me. This past weekend was no exception.
I had pizza dough on my mind, but as I have been eating more pizza recently, I decided to go with a similar process and instead, make a focaccia bread to make sandwiches on Sunday. The fun thing about making focaccia is that once you have the dough made, you can get as creative as humanly possible on the toppings. Me? I like simple herbs that pack a huge flavor either eating alone if cut into squares, or used for making sandwiches. Let’s get started on this really simple and flavor Italian bread.
- 1 package of active dry yeast
- 1 cup warm water
- Approximately 4 cups of all purpose flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 5 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp dried rosemary
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp additional salt
- 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
Begin by taking your yeast and adding it to the cup of warm water. Wait about 10 minutes or so and you will notice the yeast will get nice and bubbly. This is what you are looking for.
During this activation process, add the flour, a teaspoon of salt to a large mixing bowl. Now add in the activated yeast. Mix as good as you can with a wooden spoon, and once it comes together, get your hands in there (yes, you will get the dough fingers), and begin working the dough for a few minutes. Add a bit more water if need be. You want the dough to become a bit smooth and almost elastic.
Once you achieve that texture, take another large bowl, and add in a two tablespoon of olive oil. Add the ball of dough, and toss to coat the entire ball of dough. Cover with a towel and place in a warm place in the house, for nearly 2 hours, or until it has risen double in size.
When the dough has risen, make a fist and punch it down. Next, get a baking sheet out, brush another tablespoon of olive oil to the bottom of the sheet, and add the dough, shaping into the form of the sheet. Take your thumb and begin making imprints into the dough. Do this for the entire sheet of dough. Take the remaining olive oil and brush onto the top of the dough.
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.
Take the dried herbs, remaining salt and pepper, and mix it in a small bowl. Sprinkle generously to the top of the dough. Place in the preheated oven, and cook for about 25 minutes. Once golden brown, remove from the oven, let cool, and cut into large squares.
Serve as is, or if you want to make sandwich, slice a square in half, and top with your favorite sandwich ingredients.
Simple, tasty, and delicious. A great snack, or better yet, an excellent flat bread for an awesome sandwich. Enjoy.