Focaccia --
a fast and easy Italian bread

We’ll give you a recipe for Italian Focaccia, but truth be told we’ve never made it from scratch. When we’ve had bread dough stored in the fridge for a day or so longer than we should, and it has fallen (no rise left) and is maybe smelling a slight bit fermented, that’s when we have focaccia with our evening meal. I just hate throwing perfectly good and usable dough away. And, I love this quick and easy method of preparing this tasty bread.

Shaping the dough
We simply hand form the dough into a thin rough rectangle. The edges can be pinched together. Then we poke some depressions into the surface and dribble on a good amount of olive oil – preferably Extra Virgin Olive Oil – and then let imagination take over.

Other toppings can be most anything. Sea salt, black or Kalamata olives, red pepper flakes, green pepper strips, onion rings, sliced fresh or dried tomatoes, basil, oregano, rosemary or just about anything that strikes you fancy and you think will taste good..

Preheat the oven to 450 F and bake for about 20 minutes or until it appears browned around the edges and the veggies have taken on a roasted look.

Starting from scratch
Or, if you don’t have any dough in the fridge… try this easy and quick recipe

1 package or 1 tablespoon of dry yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
1-1/3 cups warm water
1-1/2 cups bread or all purpose flour
2 teaspoons of salt
Olive oil

Place the sugar and yeast in a measuring cup with the 1-1/3 cups of warm water. Stir the mixture together and let sit until it becomes foamy – about 5 minutes..

Using a mixer Stir the flour and salt together in your mixer bowl with dough hook and add the liquid.. Add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Continue mixing on low speed until the dough is smooth and elastic. Turn out on a floured surface and form into a ball. Cover and let rise for 30 to 45 minutes or until about double in size.

Mixing by hand Mix the flour and salt together. Add the water and yeast mixture and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Stir until a dough forms. Place the dough on a floured counter and knead until smooth and elastic. See Kneading Bread Dough. Form into a ball. Cover and let rise for 30 to 45 minutes or until about double in size.

Lightly oil a baking sheet, punch the dough down and place on the sheet. Form into a rough rectangle, pinch the edges, poke holes in the top. Dribble on more olive oil and scatter the herbs and toppings of your choice on top. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F and bake for 20 minutes until browned on top. When done place on cooling rack. Cut and serve.

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