Focaccia is an Italian flatbread scented with olive oil. Warm from the oven this bread has a wonderfully crisp outside crust, yet inside it has a soft and tender crumb with a dense texture. While its thickness can vary, I prefer to make the Focaccia thick enough so I can cut it in half to make sandwiches. Usually rectangular in shape, it is instantly recognizable by its dimpled top, that is drizzled with olive oil and oftentimes a sprinkling of fresh rosemary. But don’t limit yourself to rosemary, you can top your Focaccia with olives, garlic, cherry tomatoes, sun dried tomatoes, sautéed onions, cooked bacon, cheese (grated parmesan or feta), sesame seeds, and/or a variety of oven roasted vegetables.
A few notes on ingredients. We are using mostly bread flour (for a chewy texture) and a small amount of all purpose flour (plain flour). For the yeast, I like to use SAF Red Instant Yeast. This type of yeast gives a good rise and it doesn’t need to be proofed. However, you can substitute active dry yeast for instant yeast but you need to activate the yeast first in warm water. To do this, remove about 1/4 cup (60 grams) water from the total amount called for in the recipe and heat it to lukewarm. Stir in the yeast. Let stand about 5-10 minutes or until the mixture becomes frothy. For the salt I like to use kosher salt. And lastly we need water. I like to use filtered water. The temperature of the water is very important when making bread as it determines the temperature of the final dough, which affects the rate (time) of fermentation (proofing). The desired dough temperature (DDT) should be between 74-77 degrees F (23-25 degrees C) so I find it best to use cold water with a temperature of about 60 degrees F (15 degrees C).
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Article and Demonstration by Stephanie Jaworski
Photo and Videography by Rick Jaworski
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