Am I the only one that judges a restaurant on their bread? First, do they even offer bread? And if they do, is it good? Is it fresh? Is the butter soft? I hate when restaurants give you piping hot bread with cold butter. People I am dining with may think I’m crazy but I immediately put that cold butter underneath the hot bread and soon enough you have hot bread with spreadable butter. The quality of restaurant bread is pretty important to me. Some restaurants have basic, but quality, bread and butter. But some take it even further and have bread dripping in butter and garlic. Love! And some restaurants have really great, fresh, focaccia bread. I get pretty excited when there is fresh focaccia bread because it is not something I get very often. Well, up until last week that is.
There is this amazing focaccia bread at my local grocery store. I’ll usually pick up a loaf for no reason and Cliff and I will break off chunks of bread every time we walk in the kitchen. Lets just say it doesn’t last long at our house! Instead of continuing to buy it at the store I decided to try to make it on my own. I had never made focaccia before, so I had no idea how easy it was. The loaf we get from the grocery store has parmesan cheese and sliced black olives. Cliff and I love asiago cheese bagels from Panera so I decided to make my focaccia with parmesan, olives, and asiago. I really liked the asiago cheese. It worked out perfectly. The bread took some time to rise but it wasn’t hard at all. It’s a great project for a lazy Sunday when you just have time to do a few steps at a time of a recipe in between grocery shopping and laundry. If you love fresh bread anywhere near as much as I do, I highly recommend this focaccia. If black olives aren’t your thing add some tomatoes or herbs or caramelized onions.
2 teaspoons rapid-rising dry yeast
1 cup warm water + 2 tablespoons, divided
2 tablespoons sugar
4 cups flour
1 tablespoon coarse salt
¼ cup olive oil
cornmeal, for dusting
1 large can of sliced black olives
4 cups cheese, we used asiago and parmesan
In the bowl of a stand mixer combine the water, yeast, and sugar. Mix gently and allow to sit until it begins to foam. Once it foams begin mixing with the dough hook and add the flour slowly. Dissolve the salt in 2 tablespoons of water and add it to the dough mixture along with the olive oil. Increase the speed to medium and mix for about 10 minutes. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl a few times. Cover the bowl and allow the dough to rise until it has doubled in size. Once the dough had doubled remove it from the bowl and place on a smooth, floured, surface. Divide the dough in half and roll out into 2- 9 inch circles. Brush 2 cast iron pans with oil and dust with cornmeal. Place each piece of dough into a pan and set aside for 15 minutes. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Sprinkle each focaccia with ½ a can of olives and 2 cups of cheese. Bake for 15-20 minutes.
Source: Adapted from Tyler Florence