Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Bread Machine Focaccia


Yesterday I mentioned that I had a new veggie/herb garden. I was lucky enough to be able to buy some fairly large herb plants and it didn't take me long to get the urge to use some of them in a recipe.

I went on-line in search of a recipe to use said herbs and found a focaccia recipe on allrecipes.com. Needless to say, I tweaked it within an inch of it's life based on my personal preferences and it turned out wonderful! I happened to have some bread flour in my fridge but next time I think I'll see how good old all-purpose flour does in this recipe since I always have an abundance of that type of flour in my house.

Armed with my kitchen shears, I went out to "harvest" some of my herb crop. ;) Man, did my kitchen smell awesome once I started chopping up some of my fresh herbs. I usually use dried herbs but I think I've been converted!

This was my first time making focaccia (pronouced fo-cat-cha) and I thought it was a wonderful accompaniment to the pasta dish I served last night and tasted especially good when dipped in some good quality balsamic vinegar. Yum!

Bread:
1 cup lukewarm water
2 tbsp olive oil (or grapeseed oil)
1/2 tsp salt
3 tsp garlic, minced (approximately 4 cloves)
1 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
3 cups bread flour
1/2 cup old cheddar, shredded (optional)
1 1/2 tsp bread machine yeast

Toppings:
2 tbsp olive oil (or grapeseed oil)
1 1/2 tsp fresh oregano, chopped
1 1/2 tsp fresh basil, chopped
1 1/2 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped
2 tsp coarse salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup fresh Parmesan cheese, grated (optional)

Place water, 2 tbsp olive oil, salt, garlic, 1 tbsp rosemary, flour, Cheddar (if using) and yeast in the bread machine pan in the order recommended by the manufacturer. Select 'Dough" cycle; press Start.

Remove dough from bread machine when cycle is complete (my machines take 2 hours for the dough cycle). Dough will be very sticky. I highly recommend either lightly greasing your pan or dusting it with some flour (which is what I did). Pat dough into a bar pan OR a 9x13-inch baking pan OR a 12-inch pizza pan. Use your fingers to dimple the dough every inch or so. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with remaining fresh herbs, salt and pepper.

Preheat oven to 400F. Cover foccacia with a tea towel while the oven preheats. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and put back in oven until it has melted (it won't take long so watch it closely). Let cool for 5 minutes before serving. Cut into strips or wedges. Dip in balsamic vinegar or spicy olive oils.

Tip: Try adding some sliced Kalamata olives to the top of your foccacia!

Yield: 6-8 servings

Note: use extra focaccia to make sandwiches or garlic bread

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