It’s almost that time again, people – it’s the weekend that bros and ladybros across the United States have been waiting for: Superbowl Sunday! I’m sure that you are all as excited as I am, in that I am not really all that excited about the game itself. In all honesty, I don’t understand football. Like, at all. I have no idea how the scoring works, but I do know what touchdowns are important. I do, however, love everything that goes along with the Superbowl. You get to drink beer, eat wings and nachos, yell, and hang out with all your pals. It’s basically a Friendsgiving, isn’t it? Kramer and I are meeting up with some friends at The Warsaw this year for Roberta’s Superbowl party. We were able to reserve a table, and as long as I can sit down every once in a while, I’m happy. I’m even happier that there will be wings. It is surprisingly hard to find good wings in Williamsburg. There’s Lodge, but that’s about it, unless anyone has any suggestions? Other than that, we really have no big plans for the weekend. I may have to call the place we bought our new couch from and harass them. We still haven’t gotten it delivered and we bought it over three weeks ago! Hopefully we can get it soon, I am so sick of sitting on your old, sagging-in-the-middle couch. I demand the utmost level of comfort! My life is so hard.
I imagine that our new couch will be like this focaccia bread: soft, fluffy, and with a hint of zest (okay, maybe not that last part). I’m now a full-fledged bread baker. You can call yourself that after you’ve made three loaves of bread, right? I thought so. It seems to be that Italian breads are much easier to make than their fussy French brethren. I was so happy with the way this focaccia turned out, I made two more batches already. You just have to knead it for 10 minutes at the beginning, then after that, it’s all about just letting it do its thing and rise. This bread makes an excellent vessel for olive oil and balsamic vinegar, but you can make it into a pizza or bake it like this and slice it for big, delicious sandwiches. I added a spice mixture on top of salt, rosemary, pepper flakes, and the like, but you can do sweet or savory – I’d imagine that a cinnamon sugar combination would be a big hit, or even something with a little more heat, like cayenne and adobo chile. I was a little nervous about this bread at first, I’ll admit; my yeast didn’t foam up as nicely as I would have hoped, but I am impatient, so I went ahead and kept baking anyway, knowing full well that I might be ruining everything because the yeast needs to foam, if my cookbooks have taught me anything. I threw caution to the wind, though (look at me being so adventurous), and pushed on. The focaccia turned out beautifully, though. I sat in front of the oven for the first 10 minutes, worrying and watching it rise, but as soon as I saw it get all puffy and pretty, I breathed a heavy sigh of relief. This makes me believe this truly is a foolproof focaccia recipe. I’m a lazy kneader, too, and just used my mixer for most of this – it turned out lovely, with lots of little bubbles and a delicate crust on top. Everything is always better when you knead it by hand, though, so don’t sweat it if you don’t have a mixer. Just go for it! You’ll thank me later. Maybe you’ll even get brave and make this for your Superbowl party? Go forth and bake bread, people!
Making focaccia could not be easier! Just bring together your dough, place it in an oiled bowl and allow it to rise, then spread it onto a baking sheet, then let it rise once more before sprinkling with salt, herbs, spices, or whatever you like!
Bake at 375 degrees F for 15-20 minutes, until golden and set.
Allow the bread to cool, then slice and serve.
This focaccia will keep well in an airtight container at room temperature for about a week.
- 2 cups warm (about 115 degrees F) water
- 2¼ teaspoons (1 package) active dry yeast
- 4½ cups all-purpose flour
- 2½ teaspoons granulated sugar
- 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon olive oil
- 1½ tablespoons olive oil
- ½ teaspoon dried rosemary
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon crused red pepper flakes
- Combine your water and yeast in a large mixing bowl, stir once, and allow it to sit for 10 minutes or so, until the mixture has foamed. Mine actually didn’t foam that well, honestly…I let it sit for 20 minutes with mediocre foaming results, but I am impatient so I went ahead with this recipe and it still turned out great! So as long as the texture changes a bit, you should be alright (so long as your yeast isn’t a year old).
- Add in 3½ cups of your flour, along with your sugar, salt, and olive oil. Knead by hand or with your dough hook for 8-10 minutes, until very well combined and beginning to look smooth, then add in the remaining 1 cup of flour very slowly. Knead the dough until it is smooth and pulls away from your hands (AKA becomes less sticky) or the sides of your mixing bowl. Place the dough in a large, well oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and a cloth towel (this helps the bowl to retain heat and allows the bread to rise), and place in a warm spot to rise for 1 hour and 30 minutes.
- After the first rising period, coat a baking sheet (standard size baking sheets are 10×15-inches) well with oil, then punch the dough down and remove it from the bowl. Use your fingers to spread it out as evenly as possible over the sheet (it doesn’t have to be perfect). Cover the sheet again with a cloth, then allow it to rise for an additional 45 minutes, until puffy looking.
- Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. When you are ready to bake, make dents in the bread all over with your knuckle (but don’t make them so far down that you touch the baking tray through the bread), then drizzle 1½ tablespoons of olive oil evenly over the bread. Sprinkle with your combined spices, then bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden and set. Allow the bread to cool completely before slicing and dipping in olive oil, spreading with butter, or making into sandwiches or pizza!