This is not my first focaccia-making attempt but it is my first successful attempt. Who did I turn to for guidance and inspiration? Well Martha Stewart of course!
I found this recipe in her new book Martha’s Entertaining, published by Random House of Canada. It was long and complicated, making 2 flat breads and 12 rolls. Confusing! Then I saw there was a variation for just making focaccia bread so that is what I did.
With the barometric pressure going up and down this week causing chronic migraines and the fact that the torture of winter is upon me, I got out my breadmaker to help me out. I hope Martha understands!
If you are using a breadmaker to make the dough as well, put 1 cup warm water and 1 cup warm milk in the bottom with 1 1/4 tsp coarse salt.
Add in 1/4 cup of good olive oil.
Top with 4 cups (more if you need it) flour and 1 envelope of yeast, 2 1/4 tsp. Select dough cycle. Dough was ready in 1 hour and 30 minutes.
Mix together 2 cups of flour, yeast and coarse salt. Add warm water and milk, along with the olive oil. Beat with paddle attachment until combined. Raise speed to medium high and beat 1 minute. Cover bowl with plastic and let sit in warm spot for two hours. On low speed, add 2 1/2 cups flour, 1/4 cup at a time. Switch to dough hook and knead for 5 minutes.
Yup, my way is much faster and easier and worked perfectly!
Generously rub olive oil onto a 13″ x 8″ baking sheet. Place dough on sheet and turn to coat with oil. With fingertips, push dough out toward edges of sheet. It will not reach at first, well, at least not easily. Cover with plastic and let rest 15 minutes. Continue this process until it does reach the edges. I only had to do this twice.
Brush dough generously with olive oil. Cover and let rise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
Preheat oven to 400F, sprinkle dough with salt and pepper and bake on the lower third wrack until top is golden brown, around 20 minutes, rotating halfway through.
It really did get nice and golden brown, filled with air bubbles, so very light and fluffy yet incredibly moist. The bottom was very crunchy though, which I did not like so next time I will bake this on the middle rack.
This makes a ton of bread! Which is why I am putting it up on a Friday, so those ambitious bakers out there can enjoy it all weekend. Make great sandwiches and a fabulous grilled cheese sandwich.
Martha says that you are supposed to eat the bread on the same day as it is made but it will keep 1 day at room temperature, wrapped well in plastic. I decided to freeze it instead which turned this bread that was so luscious that it required napkins to eat into one that was totally dried out. So, as usual, Martha is right!
This worked so well in the breadmaker I will make it this way again next time but I am cutting the recipe in half! No way we can eat that much bread in 24 hours.
Made my way, I give this recipe four out of five wooden spoons.