I was serving pasta tonight and wanted some bread to accompany the entree. I found a recipe for Focaccia Bread which we love with olive oil and balsamic vinegar for dipping. I didn’t have many of the ingredients and, after reading the reviews, I decided to make significant changes to the recipe. It no longer resembles the original so I am calling it my own. I also used my bread machine to make the dough but you can do it by hand following the basic principles of bread baking. Michael and I both thought it was the best focaccia we have ever eaten! I am going to make panini sandwiches tomorrow with the leftover bread. Yum!
- 1 cup milk
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
- 2 teaspoons Pasta Seasoning or Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 pinch ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- Corn meal for dusting pan
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- Optional: Fresh Basil and Coarse Salt
Warm the milk in the microwave to lukewarm. Be careful not to get it hot or you will kill the yeast cells. To the warm milk add the salt, sugar yeast, spices, pepper, and vegetable oil. Let stand 10 minutes then pour into bread machine. Add the flour and make dough according to the bread machine directions.
(If not using a bread machine, combine the ingredients as above then add the flour. Knead until a soft, satiny dough forms, approximately ten minutes. The dough will be a little sticky. Allow to rise until double in size.)
If using the bread machine remove dough at the completion of cycle and punch down on a cutting board or flat surface. Cover a cookie sheet with a thin layer of white or yellow corn meal. You can also grease the pan if you don’t want to use the cornmeal but it adds a great crunch. Place the dough on the cookie sheet and use your fingers to form a 1/2 inch thick rectangle with slightly elevated edges. Punch lots if indentations into the bread to create depressions for the olive oil. drizzle the crust with olive oil and brush to cover. If desired, chiffonade of fresh basil can be added along with a sprinkling of coarse salt.
Bake for 15 minutes in a 425 degree, preheated oven. Remove from pan and allow to cool a few minutes before cutting into squares.
Serving suggestion: Dip in extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar.