For The Love Of Focaccia I've never met a person who didn't love focaccia. This oven-baked Italian bread is similar in style and texture to pizza dough and in some places, it's called "pizza bianca" (white pizza) as it's enjoyed without red sauce. Focaccia can be enjoyed as a side dish or as sandwich bread and it comes in a variety of handmade shapes including round, rectangular, square, or irregular. This recipe takes a tasty Texas twist on classic focaccia by introducing two key staples: jalapeño and cheese. The end result is a wonderful bread with a bit of a kick that is likely to become your new best friend.
Time To Prepare: About 25 minutes to prep the dough, 2 hours and 15 minutes for resting the dough and 25-30 minutes for the baking.
About 00 Flour: Double zero flour is also known in Italian as "doppio zero" or simply typeset as "00" flour. It's the gold standard of Italian dough making and I love using it for my pizza, pasta, and focaccia creations. You can learn more about the differences between 00 and All Purpose (AP) flour in this helpful MasterClass article. Trust me - once you try 00 flour you will likely be a fan of your new floury friend. As Master Class notes: 00 flour "straddles the best of both worlds: tender and toothsome with a hint of give."
About Your Cheese: I recommend using sharp cheddar cheese but you can substitute your favorite cheese - Colby Jack, Mozarella, Pepperjack, Havarti, or White Cheddar would all work well.
If jalapeño isn't your thing (gasp!), you can change out your plus-ups by including cheese and cubed pepperoni or capicola.
1 ¾ Cups | Warm Water 1 Package | Active Dry Yeast 1 Tablespoon | Sugar 5 Cups | 00 Flour, Plus Some Additional Flour For Kneading 1 Tablespoon | Kosher Salt 1 Scant Cup | Extra-Virgin Olive Oil, Divided 1-2 Cups | Cheddar Cheese, Cubed 1 | Fresh Jalapeño, Sliced In Half Wheels With The Seeds To Top | Drizzle Of More Olive Oil
To Top | Sprinkling Of Maldon Flake Salt Or Gray Sea Salt (Optional)
What To Do:
1. Prep Your Yeast: Combine the warm water, yeast, and sugar in a small bowl. Put the bowl in a warm (not hot), location until the yeast is bubbling and aromatic, at least 15 minutes. 2. Start Your Dough In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the flour, 1 tablespoon of kosher salt, ½ cup of olive oil, and the yeast mixture (from step 1) on low speed. Once the dough has come together, continue to knead for 5-6 minutes on a medium speed until it becomes smooth and soft. Give it a sprinkle of flour if the dough is really sticky. 3. Knead Your Dough Transfer the dough to a clean, lightly floured surface, then knead it by hand 1 or 2 times. Give it another sprinkle of flour if the dough is really sticky and tacky. 4. The First Rising Coat the inside of the mixer bowl lightly with olive oil and return the dough to the bowl. Cover it with plastic wrap and put it in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size, for at least 1 hour.
5. Form Your Focaccia Coat a jelly roll pan with the remaining olive oil. This may seem excessive, but focaccia is an oily-crusted bread which is why it is so delicious! Place the dough onto the jelly roll pan and begin pressing it out to fit the size of the pan. Turn the dough over to coat the other side with the olive oil. Continue to stretch the dough to fit the pan. As you are doing so, spread your fingers out and make finger holes all the way through the dough. This may seem odd but when the dough rises again it will create the characteristic craggy look unique to focaccia. 6. The Second Rising Put the dough in a warm place until it has doubled in size, about 1 hour. While the dough is rising this second time, preheat your oven to 425°F.
7. Final Prep + Bake Alternate "tucks" by carefully pressing the jalapeño and cheese cubes into the focaccia so that you don't deflate the dough. Lightly drizzle a little more olive oil on top and liberally sprinkle the top of the prepared focaccia with the Maldon or Gray salt. Bake the dough until the top is golden brown, about 25-30 minutes. Remove the focaccia from the oven and let it cool before cutting and serving.
Yield: 8-12+ servings. Focaccia will keep well in the fridge when wrapped in press and seal/cling wrap. You can microwave leftovers in a pinch for a snack on the go!
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Joe Paul Reider
Home Style Austin Founder Austin Realtor® Keller Williams Realty
Email: JoePaul@KW.com Mobile: 512-222-3302 Web: JoePaulReider.KW.com