Saturday, July 25, 2009

Herb and Parmesan Focaccia

There's something about baking your own bread that gives you a true sense of accomplishment. While my own bread-baking experience is fairly limited, aside from a dark rye bread I made in high school, I have made my fair share of focaccia. And the smell it creates while it's baking in my oven is enough to make me feel like a professional baker.

This Herb and Parmesan Focaccia, an Emeril Lagasse recipe, took that sense of accomplishment to another level. The lightly browned, herb-flecked crust made this easy-to-make bread look like something out of a gourmet bakery. Yet with the use of my stand mixer, it was as almost (but not quite) as easy as buying it pre-made. But it was certainly less expensive, and much fresher.

I sprinkled a combination of Italian parsley, basil, and chives on top, in addition to the Parmesan cheese. The chives were an unexpected flavour, since chives don't scream "Italian" to me like focaccia does, but I think they made this recipe special - with their light onion flavour, they added a brightness to the bread that really popped.

As my pots of herbs are growing like weeds in this very wet summer, I know I'll come to rely on this focaccia recipe to make good use of their yield.

Herb and Parmesan Focaccia
Modified from the Emeril Lagasse recipe
Serves 6

1 1/2 cups warm water (between 110 to 115 degrees)
1 tbsp sugar
1 package yeast (equivalent to 8g or 2 1/4 tsp of yeast)
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (you may need more)
2 tsp salt, plus coarse or kosher salt for seasoning
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp minced chives
1/2 tbsp chopped Italian parsley
1/2 tbsp chopped basil
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
Freshly ground black pepper

In a small bowl, dissolve the sugar in the warm water. Sprinkle the yeast over the mixture and let stand for 10 minutes until it foams.

In the mixer bowl with the dough hook attached, add 3 cups of flour, salt, and yeast mixture. Slowly turn it on and work the dough together. Turn it up to medium and mix for 5 minutes. If the dough is sticky, continue mixing and gradually add the remaining flour. Remove the bowl from the mixer. Pour a bit of oil over the ball of dough, turning the dough until it is coated in the oil. Cover the bowl with a tea towel and set aside to rise for 3 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread the dough out on an oiled cookie pan or a parchment-lined pan and press "dimples" into it with your fingertips. Drizzle with the oil, herbs, cheese, kosher or coarse salt, and freshly ground black pepper. Bake until browned and cooked through and let cool.


kmatt87 July 26, 2009 at 12:08:00 AM EDT  

Really love this bread! Maybe you should try some roasted garlic in it? :P

Scattered Mom July 26, 2009 at 12:29:00 AM EDT  

OH YUM. I think that I could eat the whole loaf myself. I'm just going to have to make that!

Hey thanks for voting for my photo at Jones Soda. :) Here's hoping!

Kaitlin July 26, 2009 at 1:43:00 PM EDT  

@Scattered Mom: No problem! Your photos were gorgeous; I think you've got a good shot.

margot July 26, 2009 at 10:01:00 PM EDT  

Wow, this looks wonderful. I love bakery foccacia, but the good ones are so expensive that I rarely buy them. The TWD brioche gave me some yeast-bread confidence, so maybe I'll give it a try.

vibi July 27, 2009 at 7:38:00 AM EDT  

Now that's something I might try... since I'm terrible with yeast (will only bake rocks), perhpas I could try focaccia...

yours is beautiful and sounds divine with a summer salad! YUM!

Anonymous July 27, 2009 at 1:13:00 PM EDT  

YOur focaccia looks amazing. YUM.

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