Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Bread To Love On

This bread is buttery, smooth, crispy but not crunchy, slightly chewing and great for impressing uh- I mean entertaining. Eat it by itself, with dipping oil, on a sandwich, or even as pizza. It is rather inexpensive to make and you should have the ingredients in your cupboard already! It may sound like a lot of work, however, your actual working time it around 15 minutes, and it will taste like you slaved over it! I hope you enjoy it as much as I am trying not to right now, Bobby asked me to save some for him.

Focaccia Bread

1 cup water
1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3-3 1/4 cups All purpose flour
2 teaspoons active yeast
Tuscan Herb Olive Oil (Below)***(see substitution)
I use a bread machine on the "dough" setting for the hard work. Otherwise use the knead, rise, knead, rise instruction found somewhere on the web. When the dough cycle is finished, remove from pan onto lightly floured surface. Knead 3 times, squish, squish, squish. Place a clean towel over it and let it sit for 15 minutes. After that, turn the over to 200 and let heat up for a minute or two, while it is heating stretch push and pull the dough into approx a 10x15 inch rectangle and place on greased baking sheet. Turn oven off and cover loaf with towel, then place in warm oven for 30-45 min. Remove loaf and preheat oven to 375. Poke holes all over top with your finger and brush herbed olive oil over top. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown. Serve warm with dipping oil, or great for Caprice sandwiches, even homemade pizza!

Tuscan Herb Olive Oil

1/2 cup olive oil
1 1/2 Tuscan Herb Dipping Spice (at HEB Central Market)
Combine and let sit for 20 minutes. Wans't that just so hard? If using an unsalted dipping spice add a little to taste. Store in a glass jar at room temperature for, well, a few months ;)
***I recommend getting the dipping spice, however, you can substitute with fresh herbs, or Italian seasoning, garlic pepper and a little salt. The spice only costs about $1.50 per 1/3cup, the trouble is finding it! It is by the bakery in little baggies at HEB.

For a fantastic sandwich spread (not that the oil isn't fabulous on sandwiches) replace olive oil with real mayonnaise and refrigerate 1 hour before use.

Caprice Sandwiches

Focaccia Bread (one loaf makes about 8)
sliced fresh mozzarella (2 oz per)
fresh basil leaves (8big leaves per)
tomato slices (1 Roma per or 1/2 medium)
Tuscan Herb Olive Oil (or the mayonnaise)
slice a square of bread in half, drizzle oil or spread mayo on halves, then layer basil leaves, cheese, tomatoes, and more basil.

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