Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Herb Focaccia Bread

I am overall a very healthy person.  My weakness is not chocolate or sweets - I can resist when necessary.  My true food weakness is bread.  This focaccia bread was no exception.  It was wonderful right out of the oven but just as great the next day, too.  The next morning I sliced the bread in half and then put it in the toaster until lightly toasted and warm!
You can make this bread with both instant and active dry yeast - so make sure you choose the directions that fit your yeast type!

2 3/4 C flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 TBSP active dry yeast
1 large garlic clove, finely minced
3/4 tsp dried rosemary or 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
1/2 tsp dried thyme or 1/2 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried basil
1 TBSP olive oil
1 C warm water

+ 1 TBSP olive oil
+ 1/2 tsp salt

*Instant yeast directions:  Use 2 1/2 tsp instant yeast.  Skip the proofing step and add the yeast to the mixture with the flour, salt, and sugar.

Proof the yeast in 1/4 C of water with the sugar (combine and let it sit for about 5 minutes until it foams).
Add the proofed yeast to the bowl of an electric mixer.
Add the flour, salt, garlic, and herbs to the bowl.
Add the remaining 3/4 C water and olive oil and mix on low speed until a soft dough is formed.
Knead the dough in the mixer for about 4-6 minutes until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl (you can add a little more flour if necessary).
Cover the bowl with a piece of plastic wrap, lightly coated with cooking spray.
Let the dough rise for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 425.
Punch down the dough and let it rest for 5 minutes.
Lightly grease a large cookie sheet (with a rim).
Place the dough on the cookie sheet in a rough 8"x10" rectangle.
Use your knuckles or fingertips to create indentations in the dough every 1/2".
Brush the dough with a light layer of olive oil.
Bake the bread for 15-20 minutes until it is golden brown.
Combine 1 TBSP olive oil and 1/2 tsp salt in a small bowl or cup and brush over the warm bread immediately after it is removed from the oven.

This recipe comes from Mel's Kitchen Cafe.

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