Sunday, October 24, 2010

Focaccia alle Erbe

I've been craving focaccia lately and decided I had better make it before my herb garden dies off for the winter. After doing some searching I decided on the Focaccia alle Erbe from the Williams-Sonoma Savoring Italy cookbook. The recipe was easy and the house smelled amazing while the bread was cooking. Served with some good olive oil and freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano - nom, nom delicious!

2 1/2 tsp (or 1 package) active dry yeast
1/2 C warm water
1 1/2 C milk
6 Tbsp olive oil
5 C unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tsp salt
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme or 1/4 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary or 1/4 tsp dried rosemary
1 tsp chopped fresh sage or 1/4 tsp dried sage
coarse salt to taste

In a small bowl, sprinkle yeast over the warm water and let stand until creamy, about 5 minutes. Stir until dissolved. Add the milk and 4 Tbsp of the olive oil and stir to combine.

In a large bowl, using a wooden spoon, stir together the flour, salt, thyme, rosemary, and sage. Add the yeast mixture and stir until soft dough forms, about 2 minutes. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Shape into a ball.

Oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl, and turn it once to coat the top. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

Oil a 15-by-10-by-1 inch jelly roll pan. Punch down the dough, transfer to the prepared pan, and flatten it out with your hands to cover the bottom completely. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise again in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 425 F.

Using your fingertips, press down firmly into the dough to make dimples about 1 inch apart and 1 inch deep. Drizzle the entire surface with the remaining 2 Tbsp oil and sprinkle with coarse salt.