LIVE FROM NEW YORK, IT’S ME!…and bread.
Whenever I am visiting my family in New York, it’s pretty safe to assume that we will be consuming large amounts of Italian food, and of course, this means a whole lotta bread. Any plans for eating healthy, low carb, paleo, gluten free, are most definitely out of the question the moment that plane touches down on the tarmac at JFK. So, basically I have to resign myself to that fact for the week this is how it is, rather than spend my time fighting it. Plus, it’s delicious. So, all of this bread up here reminded me of a favorite Focaccia bread recipe that my friend shared with me. It’s a great addition to any meal, especially an Italian one. It’s simple enough for a novice baker, can be made ahead, and really tastes great.
½ cup good olive oil
2 minced garlic cloves
1 Tbsp. thyme (fresh or dried)
1 Tbsp. chopped rosemary (fresh or dried)
¼ tsp. pepper
1 cup warm water
2 ¼ tsp yeast (this was less than one whole envelope for me, but they might come in different sizes)
¼ tsp honey
2 ½ cups flour
1 ½ tsp salt
generous amount of sea salt for sprinkling on top
First combine the oil, garlic, herbs, and pepper in a small saucepan and heat over low for 5-10 minutes. You are just warming this oil mixture so you start to smell the garlic and herbs, but be careful not to let the garlic brown. Set aside. I am lucky to have an amazing rosemary plant in my garden, so I love when I find recipes to actually make use of it.
Next combine and lightly stir the warm water, yeast, and honey. Let the mixture sit for 5 minutes. Next add 1 cup of the flour and 1/4 cup of your warm oil mixture. Stir to incorporate the flour and let sit for 5 more minutes.
Now stir in the remaining flour (1 1/2 cups) and the salt. When everything comes together, turn it out onto a floured surface and knead a few times until its smooth and combined. Move the dough to an oiled bowl (I use a drop of the garlic oil mixture for the bowl for even more flavor) and cover with a damp dish towel. Let the dough rise for 1 hour.
Heat the oven to 450 degrees. Oil a 9×13 baking dish with a little of the garlic oil mixture and press the dough down into the dish. Poke the dough with your fingers to make small craters in the top of the dough, then drizzle the remaining garlic oil mix on top and sprinkle with sea salt.
Let the dough rise in the pan for 20 minutes and then bake for 15-20 minutes until golden. Let cool on a rack and cut into squares/slices to serve.
The best part is, in the unlikely event of leftovers, this focaccia bread makes an awesome pizza crust.