Monday, March 31, 2014

Easy Herb Focaccia (great for sandwiches!)

For a while, I've been making homemade bread for our sandwiches every week, alternating between honey wheat, sundried tomato parmesan, and jalapeno cheddar. On New Year's, Joey decided he wanted focaccia, and made it for snacking. We made one round loaf and one square loaf, and realized that it was pretty great for sandwiches. It was really light and fluffy, but still very sturdy.

The past month, we've been making two square (8x8) focaccias for sandwiches for the week. We just cut each one into quarters, and then slice them in half. You can even make sandwiches for a crowd - just add all of your fillings, press them down a bit, and then cut them up however you want. I've found that any combination of herbs works well. We like putting some dried rosemary into the actual dough, as well as putting a combination of herbs on top.

Recipe: Easy Herb Focaccia
Slightly adapted from Older Mommy Still Yummy
Yield: 2 loaves (enough for 8 sandwiches)

1 1/4 cups warm water (105-115 F)
3 tbsp olive oil (plus more for drizzling)
1.5 tbsp honey
4.5 tsp active dry yeast (2 packets)
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour (plus more if needed)
2 tsp salt
Fresh or dried herbs (sage, thyme and rosemary all work really well)
Sea salt

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the water, oil, honey and yeast. Give it a stir so the yeast is mixed in. Let sit until really foamy. (If that doesn't happen, you'll have to start over. Either your yeast is expired, or the water was too hot and killed it.) Add the flour and mix on low-medium speed, then add in the salt. Mix for 10 minutes, or until smooth and elastic, but not sticky. Add more flour as necessary, 1-2 tbsp at a time.

Grease a large bowl, and put the dough in it, turning to coat with oil. Cover, and let rise in warm place for 50-60 minutes. Punch down, and divide dough into two pieces. Grease two 8x8 or 9x9 square pans. Put each half of dough in the prepared pans, and push down so it fills the entire pan. Cover pans, and let rise for 30 minutes. Using your fingertips, push down and "dimple" the dough. Lightly drizzle with olive oil, and top with herbs and a sprinkle of sea salt. Cover and let rise for an additional 30 minutes.

In the last 10 minutes of rising, turn the oven to 400 F. Bake bread for 20-30 minutes - you want the internal temperature to register at least 190 F, and you want the top to be golden brown. Once done, immediately remove the bread from the pans - otherwise the heat creates steam, and the bottoms get soft/soggy. Let cool on a wire rack before slicing.

If planning on using within 2 days, it can be kept at room temperature in a sealed container. It can be kept in the refrigerator for up to a week, or frozen (well wrapped) for longer storage.

One serving = 1/4 loaf, or 1/8 of the entire recipe
265 calories
6.8 g fat
44.5 g carbs
1.9 g fiber
3.2 g sugar
6.8 g protein