Rosemary Thyme Focaccia

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One of my many bad habits is staying up until the wee hours of the morning, watching cooking shows. I’m not a fan of the Food Network…. I tend to endulge in more obscure cooking shows, like America’s Test Kitchen, John Besh, Ming Tsai, etc. It’s not to say these chefs are obscure but their shows are generally on stations you would only discover at 2am.

So cut screen to 2am on Saturday, and I had the pleasure of watching Lidia Bastianich bake focaccia. She kept saying how easy it was so I figured what the hell.

Lidia didn’t add herbs to hers so I had an Internet mission to accomplish. I found a few, very quickly, but they used vegetable oil instead of olive oil. There was something very authentic about using olive oil so I would need to improvise. And here’s what I came up with.

The dough is very simple. It also calls for mostly dried herbs so no special trip to the store required.

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Once all the dried ingredients were in the bowl, I used the standard paddle attachment to blend it all together.

Next, I needed to bloom the yeast. A cup of 110° water, some yeast and sugar (the yeast feeds off the sugar!) and after a quick stir, it was ready in about ten minutes.

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Slowly add the yeast to the dry ingredients, with the mixer on low.

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Time to add the oil and switch to the dough hook.

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I kneaded it on medium for about 3-4 minutes, adding a little more flour, along the way. It was ready when the dough was soft and only slightly sticky.

Next, I oiled a bowl, plopped in my dough ball, covered it with a towel and let it rise for 20 minutes.

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It will double in size, at which point you need to punch it down and prepare the pan.

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I coated a 9×13 baking pan with olive oil spray (I like my focaccia crust crunchy!).

Once I spread the dough into the pan, I let it rise for a second time. This took another 20 minutes or so.

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Time to create the dimples (this holds all the yummy olive oil) and add some fresh rosemary. I also sprinkled the top with sea salt.

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Then comes the cheese. I used a blend of Italian cheeses but parm, solo, would certainly be acceptable.

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Into a 400° oven for 20-25 minutes.

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Beautiful and so so tasty.

Ingredients:
2 3/4 cups flour + 1 cup
2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 tbls active dry yeast
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup water
Shredded cheese
1 tbsp fresh rosemary leaves

Mix the flour, dried herbs and salt in a mixing bowl. Bloom yeast in a cup of 110° water for ten minutes, along with the sugar.

With the mixer on medium slowly add the yeast mixture to the dry ingredients. Slowly add the olive oil.

Using a dough hook, knead for 3-4 minutes, slowly adding the remaining cup of flour until the dough is soft and slightly sticky. You may not need the full cup of flour!!

Place dough in a well oiled bowl, cover with a kitchen towel and let it rest in a warm place for 20 minutes.

Punch down the dough.

Spray a baking dish with olive oil and place the dough in the dish. Spread it evenly and allow it to rise again, for 20 minutes.

Create dimples in the dough using the backside of a teaspoon. Brush the dough with olive oil and sprinkle the top with the fresh rosemary and sea salt.

Bake for 20-25 minutes. If the cheese is getting too brown, loosely cover with foil.

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Bust out a very nice balsamic vinegar and a high-quality olive oil…. Add a bit of sea salt and start dipping!

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