My family’s move has begun! I’ll be spending the 5 months between my in-laws’ home, my parents’ home, and (hopefully before the end of September) my family’s new home. For now, we’re on the road to Florida and we’ve stopped to visit family along the way, hence my lack of post last week. I did, however, have the chance to do a little cooking at my sister’s house. Originally, I offered to make the entire dinner she had planned (eggplant Parmesan), but I was just too tired from the moving, travelling, and so on. Instead, I whipped up her recipe for Easy Italian Herb Focaccia Bread.
It’s always a challenge to cook in someone else’s kitchen, so the “easy” in the title of the recipe was appreciated. And truly, the recipe was easy to make. As the bread baked, the house filled with the scent of Parmesan cheese and Italian herbs. It reminded me of the Italian rolls my mom made growing up. They always struck me as too complicated to make myself because of the yeast. Generally, I avoid baking with yeast… my bread never seems to rise right. Although the focaccia recipe uses yeast and has to be left to rise, there is no kneading required. In fact, you don’t have to form rolls either. You simply spread the dough into a 9×13 pan. In other words, it seemed like the best both words: flavors from my childhood with the ease of prep I insist on now.
Here’s the recipe:
3 ¼ cups flour
1 envelope rapid-rise yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
¼ cup olive oil
1 2/3 cups very warm water
2 Tablespoon Parmesan cheese
1 Tablespoon Italian seasoning
Mix flour, yeast, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Add 2 tablespoons oil and water; stir until well mixed. Spread dough into a greased 13×9 pan. Cover and let rise for 30 minutes until doubled. Poke multiple holes in dough using the handle of a wooden spoon. Drizzle 2 tablespoons oil over the top of the dough; sprinkle with cheese and Italian seasoning. Cover and let rise for 15 minutes while the oven preheats to 375 Fahrenheit. Bake 30-35 minutes until lightly browned. Cool slightly and cut into squares. Enjoy warm.
Let me begin with a hearty “yum!” The Italian Herb Focaccia bread really did taste like my mom’s Italian dinner rolls. The crispy cheese and herb layer on top contrasted nicely with the soft bread below. I also felt it had the perfect density. And it lived up to the easy in the recipe title.
I will say that the rise times are approximate. During the first rise time, the bread did not double, but that wasn’t an issue. I also let the bread rise for longer than 15 minutes while my sister prepped the pan of eggplant Parmesan
. Although I didn’t eat it the next morning for breakfast since my sister made a crème brulée French toast bake (you eat well at Becky’s house!), I think the Focaccia bread would have been great reheated and served with eggs. Let me know if anyone tries that!