Ottawa Best Baker recipe No.4: Garden of Eatin' Focaccia
CTVNewsOttawa.ca Published Thursday, April 30, 2020 4:03PM EDT Last Updated Thursday, April 30, 2020 6:24PM EDT
Home baker and bread maker Crystal Parsons shares a recipe for a focaccia that looks too good to eat.
Perfect for your next dinner party...whenever that might be.
- 4 3/4 Cup All-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- 2 1/2 Cup warm water (approx 95 degrees F)
- 3/4 tsp active dry yeast
- 1 large onion
- 2 Tbsp butter (more if desired)
- 1 Tbsp flaky sea salt or half a Tbsp table salt (with additional sea salt to taste)
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Assorted vegetables and herbs to create your design -- Recommended: fresh parsley, rosemary and thyme, grape tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, green onion stalks and leeks
- Dissolve sugar in to warm water in small bowl; slowly sprinkle in the yeast and let sit undisturbed 10 minutes to activate the yeast. You'll know it's ready when some of the yeast bubbles up to the surface.
- Put flour in to a large bowl, push some of it back against the sides to form a well; pour yeast in to the well and stir. Once the dough starts to come together, sprinkle a little flour on a counter and knead the dough for 10 minutes. This is a very soft, moist dough so be careful not to add too much extra flour; just enough to prevent sticking
- Place dough in a clean, dry, lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and a few towels and light rise 2 hours in a warm, dry location
- Melt butter in skillet and cook diced onion over medium-low temperature approx. 20 minutes until golden brown
- After 2 hours of rising, the dough should be double it's size; punch it back and incorporate the onions and salt in to the dough. Tip: the easiest way is to use a rolling pin to roll the dough in to a flat slab; sprinkle the salt and onions over the surface and roll it up like a jellyroll; knead the dough a few minutes to ensure an even distribution
- Place dough back in to covered bowl and let rise for another hour
- When dough has risen, roll out to fit inside a greased baking sheet (such as a low rimmed cookie pan approx 17 x 13") and brush surface with some of the olive oil
- Tip: Lightly flour the surface and the rolling pin to roll out dough, when it starts to resist, let it "bench rest" for 5 minutes before rolling again until it reaches the size you want
- Clean all vegetables and herbs, removing any inedible stalks or stems; slice leeks and green onions in to long slivers; pour remaining olive oil in to bowl and dip or brush vegetables and herbs thoroughly; remove excess oil
- Arrange the vegetables and herbs in the design of your choice; sprinkle surface with additional salt if desired
- Tip: The dough will move a little as it rises and cooks so really press your herbs and vegetables in and overlap to make sure it looks the way you want
- Cover with greased plastic wrap and let rise once more for 45 minutes
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees; if the dough has dried a little, drizzle up to 2 Tablespoons more oil on top and bake on lower rack of the oven for 30 minutes rotating the pan halfway through to ensure even baking
- Tip: baking on the lower rack will ensure the focaccia is golden brown on the bottom and should prevent the delicate vegetables and herbs from scorching. Since all ovens heat differently, check periodically and adjust temperature accordingly.
- Remove from oven, allow to cool and drizzle with more olive oil if desired; can be served warm or at room temperature