Focaccia, a flat oven-baked Italian bread that has a similar texture like pizza dough, is an easy bread to make. The most typical Focaccia is the one with Rosemary and Olive Oil. Remember to use your finger or a utensil to dot the bread (make lots of dimples), this will help preserve the moisture.
This is a variation to the usual Focaccia. Though most of the ingredients are the same, I added diced colorful hot pepper, Italian seasoning and garlic salt to the dough. I also decorated the top of the bread with jalapeno rings and freshly grated cheese.
The trick to make the bread softer, and fluffier is to increase the time during the second rise. For both bread, I used the same amount of flour and liquid, the Jalapeno Focaccia was at least twice as tall as the Rosemary Bread. I did the math, the Rosemary Focaccia was made in a 12-inch pizza pan, so the area is 113 sq inch, while the Jalapeno Focaccia was made in 9*13 glass pan, the area is 117 sq inch. So, in theory, they should be the same thickness. The difference, which I did intentionally, was that I let the Jalapeno Facaccia rise much longer in the pan before sticking into the oven. However, if you like denser bread, heat the oven as soon as you start the 2nd rise, and bake when the over is ready.
I was pretty liberal with the olive oil in the baking dish. At 400F, the bread was almost like being fried. The crust was crispy with a touch of crumbliness.
Slice it in half, add some ham and smoked cheddar cheese in between. It makes a delicious sandwich! It would be even better to grill it on a Panini press, crispy outside and warm melting cheese inside. My mouth is watering!!
- 3 1/3 Cup Flour
- 1 1/3 Cup Warm Water
- 2 tsp Dry yeast
- 1 tbsp Sugar
- 1/4 Cup Olive Oil
- Seasoning to taste (Rosemary, Italian Seasoning, Thyme, Basil, Garlic, Garlic Salt, etc)
- Jalapeno Pepper Optional
- Cheese Optional
- Sea Salt Optional
Add yeast and sugar to warm water, and let it stand for 5 minutes
Add yeast mixture to flour, add 2/3 of the olive oil to flour, knead dough to form a ball. Let it stand for 10 minutes and knead again. It is so much easier to let the dough rest then knead again.
Cover and place in warm area, let it rise till double the size
Punch the dough down. Pour remaining olive oil to baking dish, and spread dough onto the baking dish, press all the way to corners. Use finger to punch holes in the dough. Let it rest and rise again for 30 minutes
Preheat oven to 400F, bake for at least 20 minutes till the top is golden.
I used to rely on KA Stand Mixer to knead dough, but then there is extra clean up, and the mixer itself is very heavy to take out from the cabinet. Recently, I have been adopting a two step kneading. First, mix the liquid and flour together. Keep on combining the ingredients. It would be very sticky at first, but just keep on combining them. Soon you will find dry flour becomes moist and your hands and the bowl get cleaner. Gently knead the dough for 30 more seconds and let everything come together into a ball. Cover and let it sit there for 10 minutes. Time does magic here. In 10 minutes, the dough gets very soft and easy to knead. It does not stick to your hand or working surface. At this point, you can knead for 5-8 minutes quite effortlessly to form a very smooth ball.