A few months ago, my parents gave me their old bread machine. When I say old, I mean this thing made bread for my sister and I when we were kids. My first reaction was to not accept it, thinking that there was no way it could still produce a decent loaf of bread. I was so very wrong.
This homemade focaccia has become a staple in our house. The top is a delicious crispy crust of olive oil, salt, and pepper that contrasts wonderfully with the soft, doughy interior. Focaccia is perfect for dunking in sauce, swiping up excess salad dressing, floating on top of a bowl of soup, or just eaten straight out of the pan. Basically, this bread will improve not only your day but quite possibly your entire life. Yes, it really is that good.
Bread Machine Focaccia
Makes one (9×13 inch) loaf
From start to finish, this recipe takes 2 hours max. So yes, you can have warm bread with dinner tonight. You’re welcome.
For the Dough
1 cup lukewarm water
2 tbsp. olive oil
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. bread machine yeast
For the Top
2 tbsp. olive oil
coarse salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Make the dough: Place all of the dough ingredients into bread machine in the order directed by the manufacturer (they are listed in the order my bread machine calls for them). Set dough cycle; press Start.
Preheat oven to 400º F. Remove dough from machine when cycle is complete. Pat dough into an ungreased 9x 13 inch baking pan, stretching out the dough as necessary to fit. Dimple the top of the dough with your fingers. Drizzle olive oil evenly over the top, spreading it around with your fingers until the entire top of the dough is covered evenly. Sprinkle with salt and pepper generously.
Cover the pan with plastic wrap and let it rise for another 20 minutes on top of the stove. Remove plastic wrap and place into preheated oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes until nicely risen and beginning to become golden brown. Remove bread from pan immediately and place onto a cooling rack. Allow it to cool for at least 10 minutes (I know, it’s hard) before slicing. Enjoy, and plan on making this a weekly ritual in your home.
Don’t have a bread machine? No problem! This dough can be made with good old-fashioned elbow grease. Simply replace the bread machine yeast with traditional yeast* and knead the dough by hand for about 15 minutes before letting it rise for 1 1/2 hours in an oiled bowl covered with plastic wrap and placed in a warm, draft-free place (a closed oven with the light on is my favourite place for rising dough). Then proceed as the recipe says.
*If using traditional yeast, you must activate it by stirring it into the lukewarm water with one tsp. of sugar until it becomes frothy (about 10 minutes).
I think I owe my parents a bottle of wine.