breaking bread: homemade foccacia bread

>> Monday, November 2, 2009

bread is one of my many weaknesses and i love just about any variety - white, rye, wheat, ciabetta, pumpernickel, french, sourdough, biscuits - my 'love for bread list' could go on and on. however, my all-time favorite is foccacia bread.  i just love the combination of the crunchy, yummy crust with the soft, warm inside.  it's just perfect.  yummm.

with all the time i had last week, i knew i could handle a little bread making action with the help of emeril's recipe.  you can switch up the toppings for just about anything your little heart desires.  i chose more traditional toppings, but you could go with caramelized onions, olives, rosemary, cheese, sundried tomatoes - i think you get the point.

here's how emeril's recipe went:

1 1/2 cups warm water (110 to 115 degrees)
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 ounce (1 package) yeast
3 1 /4 cups all-purpose flour (you may need more to achieve the smooth elasticity)
2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 roma tomato, sliced thinly
2 tablespoons chiffonade of basil
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

in a small bowl, dissolve the sugar in the warm water. sprinkle the yeast over that mixture and let stand for 10 minutes, to bloom (it should begin to foam.) in the mixer bowl with the dough hook attached, add 3 cups of flour, salt and yeast mixture. slowly turn it on and work the dough together. turn it up to medium and mix for 5 minutes. if the dough is sticky, continue mixing and gradually add the remaining flour (i had to add another 1/2 cup of flour because it was very sticky).

place this smooth ball of dough into an oiled bowl, cover and set aside to rise for 3 hours.  punch (literally) down the dough, and remove it from the bowl onto a lightly oiled, 9 x 13-inch sheet tray. spread the dough out onto the sheet tray. using your fingertips, make "dimples" in the dough. drizzle the dough with olive oil, sprinkle on the basil, spread out the tomato slices, sprinkle on the cheese and bake for 35 minutes.

surprisingly, some paper-fagans were not fans.  
but that's ok because that means more for me!


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