I have made this recipe a few times now and each time it just gets better since I get more comfortable with the whole dough making business. A baker, I AM NOT, N-K?! So..if I can do this ANYONE, can do this. I follow this dough recipe to the “T” and then add the other stuff to suit mine and my families taste. I found this recipe at this amazing blog…ready for the name?….The Barefoot Kitchen Witch! Love her name, love her blog, check her out and you’ll see why. While you are there tell her we sent ya over 😀
Ok, back to the Focaccia yumminess. I could eat these things as a meal in-and-of-itself, however to save face and not look like a total carb overload eater, I make this with either a veggie packed salad or delicious soup, like my Creamy Chicken Veggie & Rice Soup.
Let your heart and tummy guide you through this process of what to top it with. Your options are as vast as your imagination on this one, that is half the fun coming up with toppings and combinations. Just imagine yourself biting into a light warm crispy and soft doughy bite filled with your favorite toppings….now your talking!
Take your time with the recipe, nurture it, follow it and enjoy the outcome when finished. I will guide you through a step by step process that will ensure complete success!
Things to know about this recipe:
- Kids love helping with this; let them dimple the dough, let them pick their own ingredients and let them top their own with what they picked!
- The dough is sticky; keep flour out until you are done with all the handling of it
- Small kitchen? Make sure you have room for 2 sheet pans and a cutting board and a floured surface all at once.
- Use a kitchen aid (or whatever brand) stand up mixer for this, a hand held mixer will not work.
- If you want smaller portions, I have made this recipe into 18 focaccias, it is possible.
- Pre cut your parchment paper and set out on sheet pans ahead of time or during the rising process.
- 2 1/2 tsp (1 pkg) active dry yeast or 1 small cake (18 grams) fresh yeast
- 1 cup warm water
- 1/2 cup milk (warmed in microwave for about 1 minute)
- 2 T olive oil
- 2 1/2 T lard, at room temperature (I used vegetable shortening)
- 3 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- Olive oil for brushing the tops
- Salt for sprinkling the tops
- Cornmeal for dusting the bottoms before baking
- Toppings – thinly sliced vegetables, grilled or sautéed to intensify the flavor. Garlic, Cheeses, Whatever sounds good.
Stir the yeast, water and milk in the bowl of a stand mixer; let stand until creamy, 10 minutes.
Stir in the oil, and lard with the paddle.
Add the flour and mix at low speed about 2 minutes.
Change to the dough hook and knead 4 to 5 minutes.
Add the salt and knead another 1 to 2 minutes. The dough will climb up the collar of the hook, and you will have to stop several times to push it down. The dough should be smooth, velvety, and softer than bread dough but firmer than croissant dough.
Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap (don’t forget to spray the plastic wrap), and let rise until doubled, 2 hours.
Cut the dough into 6 pieces (or however many you want to make, remember I made mine into 18 once) on a lightly floured surface and shape into balls. Let rest under a towel for 15 minutes.
Dimple the dough balls (remember kids love this part, no matter what age!), spreading each into a circle, and let rest under a towel another 15 minutes.
Dimple tops with oil and sprinkle lightly with salt alone or your seasoning. (Here I used basil and salt) Place the dough circles on parchment-lined or oiled baking sheets or baker’s peels sprinkled with cornmeal.
Cover with a towel and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.
Dimple the dough again with your fingertips, stretching it as you go. Sprinkle with salt and brush with oil.
Mist water very lightly over the top to cover and trap the oil and then cover with the toppings of your choice.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. at least 20 minutes before you plan to bake. Bake 18 to 20 minutes. Immediately brush the surfaces with oil. Serve hot, or cool on racks to room temperature.