Herb & Asiago Foccacia Bread

I recently discovered that it is not all that hard to make homemade bread. We joined our friends for dinner on Easter and I brought this yummy bread with me to share. It is a bit time consuming but great to make on a lazy Sunday afternoon.

Recipe is derived from a recipe in the Joy of Cooking (only my favourite cooking book ever!)

1package (2 1/4 teaspoons) Active Dry Yeast
1 1/3 cup warm water (should feel hot running out of the tap… but not so hot you can’t put your finger under it)
Add:
3 1/2 to 3 3/4 cups of flour (I split it 1/2 white four & 1/2 whole wheat)
2 TBS Olive oil (I was generous with the Extra Virgin olive oil 🙂
1 TBS spoon Salt
1 TSB herbs of your choice- I used an Italian mix but I think anything you like would work like rosemary, oregano, basil etc.

Now I have a fabulous restaurant grade Kitchen Aid mixer that I use to mix the dough because I’m too wimpy to knead the dough by hand… so here is the the method using a dough hook on a mixer.

Combine in a large mixing bowl the water and yeast and let stand for 5 minutes.

Add the flour, oil, salt and herbs. Mix for 1 minute on low speed to blend all the ingredients together. Knead for 10 minutes on medium speed untill the dough is smooth and elastic. If the dough is not coming together add water 1 TBS at a time. Or if it is too sticky add 1 TBS of Flour at a time until the desired consistency is reached. Transfer the dough to a bowl lightly coated with olive oil. Drizzle oil of the ball of dough. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for 1-1 1/2 hours (dough should at least double in size)

Preheat oven to 400 F. Put your pizza (baking) stone in the oven and pre-heat for 45 mins. Punch dough down and roll dough untill it is about 1inch thick. Take out your pizza stone and dust with cornmeal. Place flattened dough on stone. (if you do not have a pizza or baking stone use a baking sheet that has been greased and dusted with cornmeal) Dimple the top of the dough with your fingers and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with herbs and grated Asiago cheese. (if you don’t want cheese you can just sprinkle with corse salt or herbs or leave it plain).

Bake the foccaccia untill golden brown, about 25 min. Remove bread from oven and place on rack to cool or serve hot.

I love eating warm foccaccia bread with olive oil and balsamic Vinager like they serve it in medditeranean restaurants. Or you can slice and make in to sadwiches or panini’s.

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