ITALIAN FLAT BREAD
Wonderfully, delicious focaccia. Before pizza became popular Italians baked unbelievable flat bread called focaccia. Almost like a pizza but much thicker and lightly seasoned. Pizza Bianca (white pizza) is the Roman version which is simple and virtually unseasoned. Your version can be topped with anything you desire but I recommend you keep it simple. If you want a pizza we’ll make pizza, but right now we’re baking bread.
I’ll admit I sometimes get carried away with topping and it does begin to look like a pizza. But that’s OK because it still tastes delicious. This bread works well with a many Italian dishes or eaten by itself. Sometimes I’ll slice the warm focaccia in half and pile on some prosciutto, hot copacola, salami and provolone cheese. It’s so good!
My other favorite is topping it with sauted garlic and red onions. I never put a cheese or meat on top. I usually make four at a time and top one with the garlic and red onions, one with just tomatoes and fresh or dried basil, one with olive oil and freshly ground black pepper and one with roasted garlic and thyme.
Here’s my best focaccia recipe for you to try.
2 package of active dry yeast
2 cups of warm water (110 degrees)
4 tsp of sugar
1/2 tsp of salt
1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil or vegetable oil
6 cups of all purpose flour
In a large bowl sprinkle yeast in the warm water.
Let stand for around 10 minutes until yeast softens.
Gently stir in oil, salt and sugar.
Add 4 cups of flour 2 cups at a time and beat with a wooden spoon for about 10 minutes until dough is elastic.
Add 1 and 1/3 cup more of flour to make a soft dough.
Turn the dough out on a floured surface and kneed around 10 to 15 minutes until dough is smooth and springy.
Grease a large bowl with oil. Just put some oil on a paper towel and rub the inside of the bowl
Place the dough in the bowl turning once to coat the dough with oil.
Cover with towel and place in a warm spot for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
Punch dough down and knead briefly on a flowered surface just to release the air.
Cut dough into four sections and roll into four balls.
Place dough on two cooking sheets and flatten with you fingers or a wooden spoon.
With the back of a knife press holes throughout the top of the dough,
Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees.
Add you favorite toppings to the dough.
Bake for around 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown.
Makes four loaves, serves 12 people
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