No Fail Focaccia

“I’ve been really lucky to have worked with some great bakers, chefs, prep cooks and more in all of the restaurants that I’ve worked in over the years. My culinary education was, quite literally, baptism by fire. I paid attention, and learned techniques, tricks and recipes from so many. One recipe that I’ve used at every place I’ve worked has been a great Focaccia recipe that David Halliday shared with me at The Boarding House about thirty years ago. This dough is easy to put together, bakes off beautifully, and the leftovers become the best croutons or bread crumbs ever. It can be left plain, or topped with fresh herbs, tomatoes, cheese, bits of prosciutto and more. This recipe is halved from the original, and will make one 9′ x 13” pan. I use my mixer with a dough hook, but this can be made by hand with a wooden spoon or batter spoon.

In a medium size bowl, pour two cups of warm water. Add two tablespoons of sugar 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon active dry yeast. Stir to combine, let sit for five minutes. Add 1/2 cup of a good, mild EVOO & stir. Add 3 1/2 cups of All Purpose Flour (King Arthur is my go to) and two teaspoons of kosher salt. Stir to combine. Now is a great time to add any dried herbs, a spoonful (or two!) of chili crisp, bits of dried onion or lightly sautéed garlic. This dough is quite soft! Not quite a batter, but not quite a bread dough! In the meantime, prepare your pan. A good coating of olive oil, making sure to get all of the corners. It should almost, but not quite pool in the pan, so don’t be shy! Using an oiled bow scraper, scrape this beautiful dough into your pan. Using lightly oiled finger tips, gently encourage the dough to spread out in the pan. Let it sit in a warm, dry spot for about two hours. The dough will rise up, bubble a bit. Lightly dimple the top of the dough with your finger tips. I like to add cherry tomatoes, sliced in half and tucked in with a basil leaf. A bit of parmesan, cracked black pepper, sesame seeds; any or all. If you’d like to top it with herbs, I’ve found that dredging them in olive oil first prevents them from scorching as it bakes. A preheated 400 degree oven for about 30 minutes, set aside to cool for a bit. A great addition to any pot luck, dinner, picnic or weekly sandwich prep. Certainly an all time favorite!”

-Written by Maryjane Mojer, Store Manager

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