My family loves eating bread, but some evenings, after school, work, and afternoon activities, there isn’t much time to bake a whole loaf in time for dinner. We recently re-discovered focaccia bread, however, and it has been a quick way to put bread on the table.
Focaccia is terribly delicious; it’s a perfect accompaniment to pasta or soup, and it even makes great afternoon snack. While focaccia can be topped with all kinds of ingredients, we prefer ours rather simple: onions and rosemary scattered on an olive oil-dough flatbread. We even keep the ingredients light to promote nice browning, and the results are a well-flavored bread with a crisp crust. If you’re feeling more adventurous you can try our Meyer lemon-thyme version; Meyer lemons are much sweeter than regular lemons and are a delicious option.
Olive Oil Dough from Artisan Pizza and Flatbread in Five Minutes a Day:
3 1/4 cups lukewarm water
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon Yeast
1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons Kosher salt
2 tablespoons sugar
7 1/2 cups (scoop and sweep) unbleached all-purpose flour
To make the dough: Use our dump and stir method of mixing the dough in a 5-quart Container with Lid, using a Danish Dough Whisk or wooden spoon. Then cover the container, not airtight and let it rest for about 2 hours on the counter. The dough can then be used right away, but it is much easier to handle once it has been thoroughly chilled. The dough can be stored in the refrigerator for 2 weeks.
Rosemary and Onion Focaccia Bread
1/4 medium white or yellow onion, thinly sliced
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
3/4 teaspoon dried rosemary leaves (or 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh)
Preheat a baking stone near the middle of the oven to 425. Pour 2 tablespoons of olive oil into a 9 inch cake pan and evenly coat the bottom of the pan. Set aside.
In a skillet, saute the onions slices over medium heat in 2 tablespoons of olive oil until softened but not browned (if you brown the onions they’ll burn in the oven). Set aside to cool slightly.
Dust the surface of the refrigerated dough with flour and cut off a 1-pound (grapefruit size) piece. Dust the piece with more flour and quickly shape it into a ball by stretching the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all four sides, rotating the ball a quarter-turn as you go.
Using your hands, flatten it into a 1/2 inch thick round. Place the dough top side down into the cake pan, and move it around a bit to cover it in olive oil. Turn the dough over, cover the pan with plastic wrap, and let it rest for 10-15 minutes.
Use your hands to gently push the dough to the edges of the cake pan. Strew the onions over the surface of the dough, leaving a 1-inch border at the edge. Allow some of the dough surface to show through the onion (you may have some leftover onions at the end). If you can’t see much dough surface, you’re using too much onion and your focaccia won’t brown attractively. Sprinkle with rosemary and coarse salt (to taste).
Cover the pan with plastic wrap, and allow the focaccia to rest and rise for 20 minutes.
After the focaccia has rested, place the cake pan on the baking stone in the oven. Bake for 25 minutes, or until the crust is medium brown. Be careful not to burn the onions. The baking time will vary according to the focaccia’s thickness. Cut into wedges and serve warm.
For the Meyer Lemon Thyme Focaccia
1-2 Meyer Lemons
1 tablespoon sugar
Coarse salt for sprinkling
Thinly slice the Meyer lemons, and arrange them over the focaccia bread after gently pushing the dough to the edges of the pan. Before putting the bread in the oven, sprinkle 1 tablespoon sugar over the top of the bread, and then sprinkle with coarse salt to taste.