I always like focaccia. I’ve learned to bake this bread when I took up Italian baking lesson at New York Culinary School with the famous pastry chef and cook books writer Nick Malgieri. It is rustic and very easy bread to make which requires no kneading to the dough. The most common topping to this bread are olives, anchovies and rosemary but you can actually put any type of topping to it. I will usually put fresh basil and tomatoes but today I used onions, pine nuts and parmesan cheese. We had this freshly baked bread with some salad for our dinner.
4 cups of flour
1 tsp salt
1 envelope/ 7 grm active dry yeast
1 2/3 cups warm water (110 degree F)
3 tbsp of olive oil
1 large sweet onion – slice very thinly
½ cup pine nuts
1 tsp dried oregano
½ cup grated parmesan cheese
Salt and black pepper to taste
1. Put the flour and salt in a large bowl and stir well to combine. In a separate bowl, whisk the yeast into the water and add in the oil.
2. Use a large rubber spatula to make a well in the center of the flour. Pour in the liquid and use the spatula to begin stirring in the center of the bowl, gradually stirring in a circle toward the sides of the bowl, incorporating more flour as you go.
3. When all the flour has been incorporated, the dough will still be fairly soft. Continue to stir and fold the dough a few times with the spatula until no dry bits of flour remain.
4. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rise at a warm place until doubled in bulk, 1 to 2 hours, depending on the temperature in the room. In the mean time prepare a sheet pan. Grease it generously with olive oil.
5. Scrape the dough into a prepared sheet pan. Lightly oil your hands to prevent sticking and press down on the dough so it evenly fills the pan. If the dough resists, cover it with a towel and let it rest for 10 minutes before continuing.
6. Cover the pan with oiled plastic wrap and allow the dough to rise until doubled again, up to 1 hour. Uncover the dough and use your fingertips to gently dimple the dough. Scatter the slice onions on top, follow by the pine nuts. Sprinkle the parmesan cheese and lastly oregano, salt and pepper.
7. Drizzle a bit of olive oil all over the top. Bake in a pre-heated 400 degree F about 30 minutes or until brown. Let the focaccia cool in the pan for 5 minutes, and then use a wide metal spatula to slide it onto a rack to finish cooling.