Today was a day that pizza sounded good for lunch. If I am honest most days pizza sounds good for lunch. If I am even more honest I really just wanted bread… something flavorful, something with texture, but bread.
Focaccia is something that can either be dressed up plain, with salt or sesame seeds, or extravagant with arugula and sweet figs. Even better with focaccia, if you have some things in the fridge that need to be used soon and looking for a great meal, then focaccia is the way to go.
So take my focaccia recipe and dress it up any way you see fit… or do with the garlic, rosemary, and goat cheese. It was AMAZING and hit the spot. Enjoy!
Basic Focaccia Recipe (which means you can add whatever toppings you like or leave plain.)
1 3/4 cups warm water
1 package/envelope dry active yeast
1 scant tablespoon sugar (just barely a tablespoon)
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups bread flour
1 cup extra virgin olive oil (divided in half)
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
For The Topping
3 ounces chèvre goat cheese, sliced and crumbled
1 rounded tablespoon fresh rosemary chopped
4 cloves of garlic smashed and chopped
4 tablespoons olive oil
- Blooming Yeast! I like saying that. So lets’s bloom the yeast, or get it to come to life. Yes yeast is a living organism. It needs three things to grow and thrive: Moisture, food, and warmth. When it comes alive it “burps” (or farts) and expels CO2…carbon dioxide. This carbon dioxide is what gives us rise in our bread and fizz in our beer. I just use warm tap water (moisture and warmth), about 100 degrees or body temperature. Sprinkle in the yeast, then the sugar (food), and mix. Let it set out for around 15-20 minutes until you get a nice, tan, frothy mixture.
- While you’re blooming, go ahead and measure out the flour into the bowl of your stand up mixer. DO NOT PACK YOUR MEASURING CUPS. That is why in proper baking recipes, the recipes are measured in weight and volume… not cups and teaspoons. Spoon the flour into your measuring cups and then level off the top with the backend of a knife. Add the salt and give the mixture a stir.
- Attach the dough hook to your mixture… you can knead the dough by hand but if you have a stand-up mixer with a dough hook it will make this focaccia a lot easier to make. Add the bloomed yeast and water to the bowl of flour along with 1/2 cup of the olive oil. Turn the mixer on and let the ingredients mix, form, and knead, inside the bowl. Sprinkle in a little more flour if the dough is too wet and sticky. Knead the dough until it’s nice and smooth. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead it by hand until it is a soft, satiny, elastic dough. Place into an oiled bowl, cover with cling film to keep the warmth in and the outside air for drying the dough, and let it rise. It should take 25-30 minutes until it had doubled in size.
- While the dough is rising, preheat your oven to 450 degrees. You’ll need to pull out a jelly roll pan or cookie sheet pan with sides. I like to place the pan in the oven and let them warm up together. I do this so the dough will be crisp and brown on the bottom and have that “fried” textured crust. Do this if you promise me that you will be careful and not burn yourself because we are going to add oil to the pan as well.
- When your dough has doubled in size and you’re ready to get this focaccia into the oven, pull out the hot pan and add the remaining 1/2 cup of olive oil. The oil will be hot. Gently lay the dough into the pan, and with the tops of your fingers poke and prod the dough out towards the edges of the pan. Stretch out the dough leaving indentations with your fingers on top of the dough. The indentation gives the classic focaccia look, as well as “cupping” the ingredients you eventually add on top.
- Once the dough has been spread out thin and somewhat evenly, start adding the topping. Mix the olive oil and garlic together. Brush on liberally to the top of the focaccia. Evenly sprinkle on Cook’s Line Seasoning to taste, or kosher/sea salt. Go easy on this because there is salt in the dough and the chèvre. Next sprinkle on the chopped rosemary, followed up with the crumbled goat cheese.
- Place the pan into the oven and bake 15-18 minutes or until the focaccia is golden and “broiled” looking on the top, and the edges are browned and crisp. Also carefully lift up the bottom and see if the bottom has browned and fried.
- Remove from the oven, let cool for 10, and slice into desired pieces. Serve with warmed marinara sauce, I like my chimichurri sauce “Garlic & Green”, or the classic oil and balsamic vinegar combo.