Have you ever made focaccia? It's kind of a cross between a Sicilian bread crust and flat bread. The bread is made just like any other yeasted bread, and involves rising time, punching it down, and a second rise. Unfortunately, I do not get to make it as often as I would like, but recently I had the time to make it, and create a very seasonal focaccia pizza!
The dough is super easy to make, and more importantly, can be flexible to your schedule. I made the dough in my KitchenAid mixer (though I am sure you could do it in a food processor), and let it rise for about 4 hours, instead of the 2 hours instructed in the recipe. The reason for this being that my home is a little cooler, and I was gone during that 4 hour period. After arriving home, I stretched out the dough to fit a cookie sheet, placed it on it, and let the dough rise for a second time, which lasted about 2 hours.
I decided to top the focaccia with some seasonal veggies, including butternut squash and caramelized onions. I lasted put on some Great Hill Blue Cheese from Marion MA. If you have never tried Great Hill Blue, you definitely should. The cheese is terrific with a great balance of flavors that is not overpowering to first time blue cheese eaters.
After about 30 minutes, which seemed like an entirnity due to the delicious smells coming from the oven, I had myself a beautiful focaccia pizza! The crust and toppings tasted amazing together, and I will definitely be using this recipe again.
Rosemary and Olive Oil Focaccia Bread
Adapted from Flour Cookbook
1 3/4 cup warm water (about 110 degrees)
1 tsp active dry yeast
3 1/2 cup All Purpose flour
1 1/4 cup bread flour
3 tsp kosher salt
2 Tbs sugar
3/4 cup olive oil- I used less on the top of the focaccia as it seemed like a lot.
2 Tbs Rosemary, roughly chopped- I used Thyme as that is what I had on hand
Combine the water and yeast together in the bowl of a standing mixer, and allow the yeast to start to dissolve, about one minute. Add the flours to the yeast mixture, 1 tsp of the salt, and sugar and turn the mixer on low, allowing the dough hook to bring the whole thing together. When the dough is a shaggy ball slowly drizzle 1/2 cup of the olive oil into the bowl. Continue to knead the dough with the mixer until it is a smooth ball - 4-5 minutes on a low speed. When the dough is smooth, turn the dough ball into an oiled smooth bowl. I use the same bowl- just take the dough ball out, spray with olive oil, and place back in. Cover the bowl with a lightly oiled piece of plastic wrap and let it rise somewhere warm (70-80 degrees) until doubled in volume, about 2 hours. For a cooler house, the rising will take longer. Once the dough has risen, turn it out onto a 10"x15" cookie sheet spread with cornmeal. Stretch the dough until it fills the cookie sheet and poke it with your fingertips. Brush the top of the focaccia dough with the 1/4 cup of olive oil (I used less) and sprinkle the salt and rosemary (sage) on top. You can put toppings on it now if you would like, or bake plain. Bake the focaccia at 425 degrees Fahrenheit for 30-40 minutes, until golden brown and puffed.