I’ve wanted to try my hand at homemade focaccia for as long as I’ve been interested in food. I love bread of every shape, flavor, and color, but focaccia is at the top of that list. Yet I’d put off making it, like too many things, for years. And, having finally done it, I’m here to tell you: It’s easy!! I mean that. And this, coming from someone who is only partially recovered from an irrational fear of yeast. Fortunately for me the #BreakingBread Society, started by some of my favorite bloggers – Shulie of Food Wanderings, Lora of Cake Duchess, and Marnely of Cooking with Books – was just the catalyst I needed.
Here’s their mission statement: “Breaking Bread Society was created to inspire you to bake more bread in your kitchen. We want you to bake along with us every month and break bread with your family and friends. We want to spark a bread baking passion across the nation and the world around. We know it’s not an easy task and we are here to help you along the way.” Pretty great, huh?
This month the theme was focaccia, and I’m getting in just under the wire! I used the recipe they suggested as a base, from How to Bake by Nick Malgieri. The main change that I made was that I used instant dry yeast instead of active. The two can be used more or less interchangeably, but instant dry yeast (also called fast rising, rapid rise, quick rise, or bread machine yeast) rises faster and can be used in slightly smaller doses (I used 20% less than the original recipe). Also, you can stir instant dry yeast right in with the dry ingredients rather than letting it proof. You can read more about the different types of baking yeast here.
The other thing I played with, of course, were the toppings. It wasn’t until after I’d baked up my focaccia that I realized I made an almost identical one to this month’s hostess, Cake Duchess! (Check out hers here.) I must have seen hers and been subconsciously influenced – I mean, how great does it look?! I went with caramelized onions, garlic, and cherry tomatoes – oh my! Seriously, this was some of the best focaccia I’ve eaten. Supremely moist but with a nice crust, and perfectly flavored, I will be making this again and again. I’ve never worked with such an easy dough – you really don’t need to do anything to it. And I loved my topping – the onions crisped just slightly while the garlic and tomato roasted into the bread. Yum!!
- 3¼ cups (406 grams) all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons instant dry yeast
- 1⅓ cups (315 ml) warm tap water (about 110F)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup sliced onions
- ½ tablespoon (7 grams) butter
- 6 cherry tomatoes, halved
- 10 cloves garlic
- Sea salt
- Put the flour, salt, and the instant dry yeast in a large mixing bowl and stir well to combine.
- Add the warm water and olive oil and incorporate with a wooden spoon.
- Knead with your hands for 1 minute, until all ingredients are fully incorporated but the dough isn't completely smooth.
- Cover with a damp kitchen towel and let rise for 45 minutes.
- Meanwhile, caramelize the onions (this is my quick version). Put the onions in a dry nonstick pan over med-high heat and cook, stirring often, until lightly browned (about 5 minutes). Add the butter, stir until melted and incorporated, and lower the heat. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until caramelized (about 10 mins).
- Generously oil a 9- by 12-inch cookie sheet and spread the dough across it.
- Cover with a kitchen towel and let it rise for another 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 425F.
- Make dimples with yours fingers in the risen dough, and top with the caramelized onions. Lightly put the cloves of garlic and cherry tomato halves into the dough and season with sea salt.
- Put in the oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden on top.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before cutting to serve.
- Include a link back to the current #BreakingBread hostess’ blog (Cake Duchess)
- Link your post to the linky tool on her blog. It must be a focaccia baked in May 2012 and if you use this recipe, it must include in the recipe: Copyright (c) Nick Malgieri 1995, All Rights Reserved
- Connect on Twitter; Tweet them at @Breaking_Bread and tag it #BreakingBread!