Saturday, May 31, 2014

Week 19: 5-Minute Herbed Focaccia

Back in 2012 I did a post on 5-Minute Artisan Bread. I had my disbelievers, but once they made the bread, they were hooked. It really was that simple. This recipe, for Italian focaccia, is even easier and also lends itself to a variety of flavors, depending upon what you have on hand in your garden or pantry.

You don’t need anything special to make this tasty treat, just the basics will do. But I like to dress mine up, usually with fresh herbs from the garden, but I think some kalamata olives and sundried tomatoes would work nicely as well.

The base of the bread is flour, sugar, salt, yeast, egg and butter. It all mixes up easily in a bowl and then you just let it sit for an hour to let the yeast do its magic. Then you knead it a few times, throw it in a greased pan, sprinkle it with some salt and herbs (dry or fresh) and shove it in the oven. I like to chop fresh herbs and use half inside the dough (which I add while kneading) and the rest sprinkled on top with the salt.

This focaccia can be served on its own, piping hot from the oven, with a meal, or let it cool and use it as a base for a sandwich.

It literally takes 5 minutes of your time, with an hour to rise and about 20 minutes to cook. I suggest you double the recipe, because it won’t last long once it comes out of the oven. I even served it with some of the leftover chimichurri sauce from last week’s tri-tip recipe and it was beyond good. A little schmear went a long way.

So what are you waiting for? 

Recipe after the jump

5-Minute Herbed Focaccia
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups lukewarm water
3 teaspoons dry yeast
1 egg
3 tablespoons melted butter
Fresh or dry herbs
Coarse salt

Add the yeast to the warm water and let rest for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, combine the flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Make a large well in the center.

Beat the butter with the egg and then add in the yeast mixture until thoroughly combined. Pour into the center well of the flour mixture and slowly begin incorporating it into the liquid. (You can cheat and use a stand mixer if you prefer, but why get another thing dirty?) Once all the flour is absorbed and you have a uniform dough, cover with a tea towel and let it rise for an hour.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and grease a 9x13-inch baking pan.

Knead some of the herbs into the dough until distributed. Pour into the pan and using your fingers, spread it out evenly. Dimple the dough by jabbing your fingers all over. Sprinkle with remaining herbs and some coarse salt. Bake for 20 minutes or until the top is golden brown.


Yield: 1 loaf

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