We haven’t shared a recipe in quite a while, so to remedy that, here is one recipe from Brampton Inn that can be altered lots of different ways…I served this the other day at tea-time and 2 people asked for the recipe so here you go:
Really Easy Focaccia Bread
2 cups warm water
1 Tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 tablespoons olive oil
5 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons sugar
4- 5 teaspoons dried herbs (oregano, basil, thyme)
2-3 grinds of fresh cracked pepper
1 cup softened, chopped sun-dried tomatoes
1 cup chopped kalamata olives
2 heaping teaspoons roasted garlic, pureed or roughly chopped (8-10 cloves?)
Olive oil and Kosher salt for topping
Dissolve yeast in warm water and let sit for 5-10 minutes. Sift together flour, salt, sugar and dried herbs. You can use whatever combination of herbs you like.
Add the olive oil to the yeast-water mixture and then pour into dry ingredients and mix vigorously with a wooden spoon. Add the tomatoes, olives and roasted garlic and mix together with your hands. When dough comes together, knead until smooth. (You can do this by hand or in an electric mixer with the dough hook. You will probably have to add more flour if the tomatoes, etc. are too wet.) The dough is ready when it’s smooth and not too sticky.
Lightly oil a large bowl and put dough in bowl, swirling it around to coat it with the oil. Cover with a damp tea towel and leave in a warm place for 30 minutes.
Pre-heat an oven to 425 degrees. Punch dough down and remove from bowl. Using your hands, press dough into a circle roughly ½ inch thick. Pierce dough in a random pattern with a fork, brush with olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt. Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until browned. Cut into triangles and serve.
This recipe can be adapted to suit your tastes. Another version we like a lot at our Chestertown Bed and Breakfast uses finely chopped fresh rosemary and chopped caramelized onions instead of the dried herbs and the tomato-olive-garlic mixture. You can also make it plain and top it with onions and cheese or just cheese, …any combination of herbs, vegetables and cheeses: if you like it, then you can put it in this bread! Another option is to form it into a rectangle instead of a circle before baking. Then, cut the finished bread into squares or rectangles to be used for sandwiches.
You may want to double or even triple this recipe and divide the unbaked dough into smaller portions and freeze. This way, you can have fresh focaccia bread at a moment’s notice. Take it out of the freezer to defrost; then let it come to room temperature before shaping and baking it.