If you’re looking for an easy, really good bread that has a very short cooking time, then focaccia is the one for you! Focaccia is usually classified as a flatbread, however, it is different that your typical flatbread because it contains yeast. You can top it with herbs, veggies, gourmet dried meats, olives, any kind of cheese, whatever you want! My favorite way to make focaccia is to caramelize a big pan of onions and grate a generous amount of Parmesan cheese to use as toppings. To me, focaccia is basically a giant breadstick, and what could be better than that?! Most packaged focaccia bread is high in sodium and preservatives, which is why the homemade version is so much better for you. In short, I encourage you to start experimenting with focaccia as soon as possible, the results are worth the effort. Don’t be overwhelmed by my lengthy instructions on this recipe, I took the time to explain each step so that you don’t have to read this recipe every time you want focaccia.;) This edition of Delicious Food 101 features The Chef, Queenbee, El Gastronomo, and Friar Tyst.

The Chef: “Queenbee, I know how much you like focaccia, so how do you like this version?” Queenbee: “Mmm…that’s really good, save some of that for me!” 

The Chef: “El Gastronomo, how do you like the bread?” El Gastronomo: “(makes face of ecstasy while chewing)” The Chef: “I’ll take that as a thumbs up.”

The Chef: “Friar Tyst, what do you think of focaccia?” Friar Tyst: “Well this is actually a good homemade bread, its hard to make good bread. You should make this one again.” The Chef: “Since you insist.”  

The Ingredients: 2 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, 1 cup warm water, 1 tbsp. active dry yeast, 1 tbsp. olive oil, 1 tsp. sugar, 1 tsp. garlic powder, 2 tsp. Flavor Mate Salt Free Garlic & Herb seasoning blend, 1 tsp. oregano flakes, 1 tsp. sea salt, 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black peppercorns, 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, 1 small yellow or red onion (sliced), 1 tbsp. butter, additional 1/4 cup olive oil, additional teaspoon of sugar.

In a large mixing bowl whisk together the flour, salt, and spices until fully combined. Add the yeast and sugar; for best results, make sure that the sugar and yeast are touching. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the warm water and tablespoon of olive oil until a shaggy dough forms. Turn this out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for three to five minutes, or until a smooth ball of dough forms. Rinse out your original mixing bowl well grease the bottom and the sides with butter or your oil of choice. Place the formed ball of dough into your greased bowl. Place a warm, damp towel securely over the bowl and let the dough rise for one hour.

Begin preheating your oven to 400 degrees. Turn your risen dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead in half of the Parmesan cheese. Grease a baking sheet with the 1/4 cup of olive oil. Press the dough onto the baking sheet. Cover it with a towel and let it rise briefly while you caramelize your onion. To caramelize an onion, peel it, then slice it into u-shaped pieces. Saute these in a tablespoon of butter over medium heat with a teaspoon of sugar until the mixture turns light brown in color, about ten minutes. Sprinkle the onions and remaining cheese over the dough until it is evenly coated. Bake your focaccia for fifteen to twenty minutes or until the top is brown and crusty. Serve warm with hummus or dipping oil. Serves 6. Enjoy!

This has got to be one of my more attractive recipes….;)

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