Focaccia is a simple Italian flat, oven-baked bread that’s easy to make and wonderful to eat. It’s perfect warm, right out of the oven, or for sandwiches in place of rolls.
Tasty Herbed Focaccia
1/2 cup olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme (or 1 teaspoon dried)
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary (or 1 teaspoon dried)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup warm water
2 1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast (1 envelope)
1/4 teaspoon honey or sugar
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
Fresh Parmesan cheese (optional)
Combine 1/4 cup olive oil, minced garlic, thyme, rosemary, and the black pepper in a medium skillet. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 10 minutes, but do not allow the garlic to brown. Set aside.
In a bowl, combine warm water, yeast, and honey or sugar. Stir a few times, then let sit for 5 minutes. Add 1 cup of the flour and a 1/4 cup of the olive oil mixture. Stir 3 to 4 times until the flour has moistened. Let sit for another 5 minutes.
Stir in the remaining 1 1/2 cups of flour and the salt. Once the dough comes together, transfer to a floured surface and knead the dough until smooth. Transfer to a large oiled bowl, cover with a warm, damp towel and let rise for 1 hour in a warm area of the kitchen.
After an hour, heat oven to 450°F. Then, drizzle some of the garlic-olive oil mixture onto a 9 x 13-inch baking sheet, rubbing it all over the bottom and sides. Place the dough into the pan and press it down. Use your fingers to pinch the dough into dimples and then drizzle the top with the remaining tablespoon of the garlic-olive oil mixture and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese (or to taste).
Let the dough rise for 20 minutes until it puffs slightly, then bake 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. Transfer bread to a wire rack and cool.