I love making an ordinary weeknight dinner special. It’s fun to go the extra mile and put something a bit out of the ordinary on the table for your family. This week I am turning an everyday spaghetti dinner into a trip to a swanky little Italian bistro with this to-die-for focaccia bread. It’s so easy to make (yep, I just said a yeast bread was easy!) and transforms an average meal into something just a bit better.
I got to try Pompeian Extra Virgin Olive Oil, and right away I knew I wanted to make focaccia bread for my family. It is the perfect canvas for this robust and delicious olive oil. Anyone who is even semi-serious about cooking needs to have a great bottle of olive oil in their kitchen cupboard.
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
2 1/4 tsp yeast
1/4 cup Pompeian extra virgin olive oil
1 cup warm water
olive oil for brushing
Parmesan or Asiago cheese
dried herbs (rosemary, basil, etc.)
1. Mix 1 cup of the flour, the sugar, salt, and yeast in a large bowl. (I use my KitchenAid mixing bowl.) Add the olive oil and water. Beat on medium speed with the paddle attachment for 2-3 minutes. Stir in the remaining flour until a soft dough forms.
2. Knead the dough for 5-10 minutes. (I use the dough hook on my KitchenAid, but you can certainly knead by hand!) The dough should be smooth and elastic.
3. Place the dough in a greased bowl, turning once. Cover and let rise for 1-2 hours. The dough should double in size.
4. Heat your oven to 425 degrees.
5. Punch the dough down and divide in half. Shape each piece into a 10-12 inch round on a large cookie sheet. Let rise (covered) for about 20 minutes.
6. Using the tip of your finger, make lots of small indentations all over the bread. (Kids LOVE to help with this part! You get to play with your food!)
7. Brush the bread with more olive oil, and top with herbs, garlic salt, or cheese. (Or all 3! You really can’t go wrong. Top the bread with what YOU like!)
My husband doesn’t care for rosemary (I know…I know…I still love him!) so I used basil and garlic salt on one, and simply garlic salt on the other (to keep the kids happy!)
This bread is such a nice change from traditional garlic bread. It stands alone, or can be served with a side of olive oil for dipping. Serve it with family-style spaghetti or alongside some nice cheese and your favorite wine at your next book club. Totally versatile and easier than you think to make!
Enjoy and happy baking!
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