Monday, September 14, 2015

Italian Herb Focaccia

I love a good bread. Whether for the prefect sandwich or as an accompaniment for a delicious pasta dinner or some other amazing meal, there's something about a great piece of bread. I like it with a crunchy crust and soft center or a buttery, flaky texture throughout or a nice, chewy and perfectly fluffed piece, like this amazingly easy focaccia bread. This loaf is perfectly seasoned with salt and Italian herbs, and bakes up super quick after two easy rises. I didn't need a lot of ingredients or time to make this bread and I can't believe it took me so long to tackle this recipe. I've wanted to make focaccia for along time--it's one of my favorite indulgences to pick up from the bakery or our farm stand (which sells for a local baker), but I don't due it very often. That's why I have Secret Recipe Club to challenge me to try recipes on my list of must-makes!

What's Secret Recipe Club?  Each Monday a group of bloggers post a recipe they've made from another blogger's repertoire.  Nobody knows who's featuring their blog until that day and it's a fun chance to visit new blogs and try something different. Visit some of the other bloggers in my group by checking out the blog hop at the bottom of this post.  To learn more about Secret Recipe Club, click here. This month I had the pleasure to bake from Culinary Adventures with Camilla, which was particularly nice for me since Camilla is our group B hostess and she does an amazing job. I loved having the opportunity to spend some time looking through her blog a little more thoughtfully.
Camilla is an adventurous woman who has seemingly done it all and has fun at the same time. As our Group B hostess and I look forward to her emails every month because I know that means I'm about to embark on a new adventure myself. Camilla has an amazing variety to her recipes and really showcases food from all over the world--proof of her effort to raise her boys with broad palate who are willing to try anything. As usual I struggled to narrow down my choices, but my short list included Homemade Peanut Butter Cups, Black Bean Coconut Brownies, Chunky Monkey Scones, and Pasta with Tomato, Arugula and Mozzarella. While I saw there was quite the selection of amazing cocktails and beverages, I steered clear since I'm still nursing and didn't want to tempt myself too much. I finally settled on her Super Duper Easy Salted Focaccia and it was just as good--and easy--as I expected. My adjustments were to add some Italian herb seasoning (you could do fresh herbs, but all I had were dried) and to reduce the salt a little so the herbs would shine a bit more. I also used cane sugar since I didn't have granulated honey, and since I use instant yeast, there was no need to proof it. What I most love about making focaccia at home is that you can control the amount of oil in it. Sometimes a purchased loaf can seem like it is saturated in oil. I'm not sure if I used enough (to be honest, I didn't measure the amount I put on top--something I'll be sure to do next time), but it was still delicious without being overly oily. I'll definitely be making this bread again--we had it with stuffed peppers for dinner, and leftovers with pasta, but Dave is really looking forward to making a sandwich with it. Please visit Camilla's blog and check out all the other amazing Group B recipes from today's reveal below!

Italian Herb Focaccia Bread


5 cups flour, plus some for kneading
1 Tablespoon instant yeast
1 Tablespoon cane sugar
1 Tablespoon Italian herb seasoning, plus more for sprinkling
2 teaspoons sea salt, plus more for sprinkling
1 cup water
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for the pan and drizzling

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, whisk together flour, yeast, sugar, Italian herb seasoning and sea salt.

Turn the mixer on low and drizzle in the olive oil until a soft dough starts to form. Stir for 5-6 minutes, adding a little more olive oil (half teaspoon at a time) if the dough seems to dry, or a little bit of flour (a Tablespoon at a time) if the dough seems to sticky.

Coat the inside of a large bowl with olive oil and transfer dough to the bowl, turning to coat as you form it into a ball. Cover with a towel and let sit to rise about an hour, when it should be about double in size.

Drizzle some olive oil on a rimmed baking sheet (17 x 11 inch is a good size) and coat the bottom. Transfer dough to the pan and work to stretch the dough until it fits the pan, dimpling it with your fingers all over once stretched.

Cover and allow to rise again for another hour, when it should again double in size.

Before baking, drizzle with more olive oil and sprinkle with additional Italian herb seasoning and sea salt to taste.

Bake at 425 degrees F for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown and top and edges are set.

Remove from oven and cool completely before cutting and serving.

Makes 24 slices/pieces.

Happy Baking,
The Cookie Princess

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  1. Mmmmm, focaccia!! I swear I can almost smell that from here! :D Great pick for the SRC! :D

    1. Thanks Kelly. It smelled amazing in the kitchen that afternoon!

  2. Focaccia is such a great side dish or snack. I love seasoning up some good olive oil and dipping away with it.

    1. This is perfect for dipping Wendy because it's not over oiled to start with.

  3. Making bread is always so daunting - but this looks manageable!

    1. Sarah, this is my second least daunting yeast bread. Seriously easy.

  4. This looks so good! I love to eat focaccia with eggs at breakfast (or dinner). You did a beautiful job with it, what a wonderful selection!

    1. Thank you Mary! I'd love to see salt, pepper and chives in this bread to go with some eggs. Yum!

  5. I've been wanting to try focaccia for a long time. I need to let this be my inspiration.

    1. Go for it, Jeanie! You'll be glad you did (and wonder why you didn't do it sooner).

  6. Yum! This herbed bread looks delicious! I love crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside too! Just the thing to dip into my little bowl of olive oil.

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