I had a hard time with F - so I decided to be nice to myself and go for foccaccia. This is a traditional Italian style of bread. However, the recipe I am giving you is not the traditional version but my knock-off, super easy version...delicious and wonderful with a nice soup, chili, or just to dip in leftover spaghetti sauce. I would have had great pictures of it, but unfortunately, we ate it before I remembered that taking the pictures was the main reason I made it...lol
I love serving this to a crowd because it goes so far if it is cut into fingers and served with a marinara sauce - it is always a hit!
This smells so-o-o good when it is baking!
It all looks very daunting but prep time is only about 20-25 minutes before you get it into the oven, depending how fast you work.
You will need this recipe first:
Basic Bread Dough Instructions for one loaf
traditional Fleischman's yeast
Pour about 1 cup or so of warm water into a large bowl - it should feel like a good warm bath but not hot.
Add about 1 tsp. sugar - you can also use honey.
Add about 1-2 tsp. traditional Fleischman's yeast.
Proof for about 10 minutes or until you see most of the yeast has "bloomed," or risen to the surface.
Using a fork, stir lightly.
Add about 2-3 tbsp. olive oil, 1 small tsp. salt, and start adding flour. Mix enough in so that when you stir it it becomes like a super thick pudding.
Clean your fork off well under running water. (It will adhere like concrete if you don't clean it right away.)
Continue to add flour and start to knead the dough while in the bowl until it has a soft but not sticky or tacky consistency - you don't have to do this for a long time. If your dough is too moist, you will get a large air bubble just under the crust - just add about 1-2 tbsp more flour to correct this. If it is too dry, it will feel hard to knead -in this case, make a hole in the dough and add about 1-2 tbsp of water and gently knead it in. It will be gross and sticky, at first, then will incorporate itself in.
NOW is the easiest part and :) we can start the foccaccia:
Extra virgin olive oil
garlic - 3-4 cloves
So...the first step is to take the bread recipe that was back in the B's and make it up. (I copied it above for you - or the part we need.) The difference is that we will be treating it almost like a quick bread and go for only one very short rise.
After you have mixed it up, let it rest for about 10 minutes. This is important or it will be like trying to flatten rubber bands....
Get a pizza pan or 9x13 pan - make sure the pan you use has edges...I have a large round pan I use for pizza, buns, etc. but a cookie sheet with edges will do the trick just as well.
Pour about 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil in to your pan and spread around - be generous because your dough will stick otherwise.
Take your dough and gently roll it out on the counter with a rolling pin until it is just about 1/2 - 3/4 inch thick - if it is thicker - no big deal - your foccaccia will just be thicker. Or you can divide it in half and make two small ones or one foccaccia and one loaf of regular bread.
Place it in your oiled pan and let it rest for about 5 minutes, then using your fingertips, spread it out a bit more until it is more or less even.
While it is rising, crush a generous amount of garlic (3-4 cloves), have ready some grated Parmesan, black olives (sliced or not), some basil - dried or not, thinly sliced tomatoes, red onions, chunks of feta cheese. Your topping will vary each time but the parmesan, garlic, basil and olive oil are always consistent.
Remove the towel from the dough and press your fingertips into the dough to make indents. Generously pour some olive oil on top along with the crushed garlic. Spread gently with your fingers. You can always re-dent it if the dents disappear.
Add your basil and then add whatever toppings you want to on top of these. You can always substitute some pesto for the basil. I love the kalamata olives but generally just use a brined black olive - I just warn everyone about the stones in them. Arrange your toppings in a pleasing way and finally top with the Parmesan cheese.
Bake at 375F until the edges are a nice medium-dark colour (a bit darker than your loaves). Remove from the oven and cut into wedges, fingers, diamonds, whatever strikes your fancy. The bottom will be nice and golden and slightly crisp.
Again - this can be baked on the barbeque when summer temperatures stop you from heating up the oven. I would still put it in the pan though because it gives such a nice crust. Just remember to rotate it occasionally!