Friday, April 10, 2009

Wicked Focaccia Bread






Oh baby!

Once again, it's Friday night, which means pizza night. I promise, I won't beat the pizza thing to death. This time, it's a pizza side dish. Although, in my humble opinion, this steals the show!

Wicked Focaccia bread! (Working title, anyway!)


I'm telling you, I have an unnatural love for the Shirley J pizza & pasta seasoning. In name it sounds very limited, but I'm telling you, this stuff is SO versatile. It's keeping me from sleep, because I'm thinking about it so much. Even my husband doesn't do that to me! (Love you, babe!)


What'd I do?


Easy!


I used the Shirley J honey white dough mix. Put my mix, 2 T yeast, and 2 1/4 cup water into the mixer. Mixed for 15 minutes, let the dough rest for 15 minutes.


Again, this makes quite a bit of dough (enough for 3 loaves of bread, 3-4 pizzas, tons of rolls...), so be prepared! However, I think that's great. I can use some for my pizza, some for my Wicked Focaccia bread, and maybe throw a loaf of bread or a batch of rolls in the oven too.


I took about a 1/3 of the dough and mixed in about 1 1/2-2 T of the pizza & pasta seasoning. You can add more if you like, I didn't really measure, I just went with how the dough looked. Once it is all incorporated (no need to be dainty, if you can't get it mixed by hand, put it back in your mixer. Thank heavens for the mixer!) When it was all incorporated, I rolled it out into the size of a half-cookie sheet. (I have these super awesome pans that are 1/2 the size of a cookie sheet. My MIL gave them to me when I got married and I love them. You have no idea, it doesn't take much to excite me!)


Once it's in the pan, cover it with a dish towel, and set it in a warm-ish place. I set mine on top of my preheated oven. Let it rise/rest for about 15 minutes. At this point, use your fingers to squish the dough down. Poke finger tip holes all around the dough. It serves several purposes, but mostly, it just makes it look cool and it's fun to do!


Coat the top with olive oil and smoosh it all around so it's all covered. Now, cover it up with the toppings of your choice. The one pictured is a basic cheese focaccia. Once I put the olive oil on, I sprinkled a bit more of the pizza & pasta spice over the top, and then I threw on some Parmesan cheese (please, for the love of all that is holy and tastes good, use the real kind, not the powdery kind in the green tube, yuck!) and some shredded mozzarella cheese. You can add slices of tomatoes (yum!), garlic, anything your little heart desires.

Bake in a 400 degress oven for about 15 minutes. Or, if you are like me, for exactly 16 minutes.


You can serve as is, but if you'd REALLY like to make it wicked, make the "dip". I based it on an appetizer that I've had at CPK before. The love for tomatoes runs deep in this house. Especially when they are fresh from our vine, and grown from our own blood, sweat and tears. Unfortunately, it'll be a few months before we can harvest any of those goodies, so I used *gasp* canned tomatoes for this.

And guess what? It turned out awesome! This recipe is a cinch and I can almost guarantee that you have all these ingredients on hand. If you don't, you should.
1 can of diced tomatoes (14 oz)
olive oil
garlic
Shirley J pizza & pasta seasoning

-Drain your tomatoes as much as you can. Otherwise this will be really soupy. Empty the tomatoes into a small bowl, add 1 big clove (or 2 small cloves) of crushed garlic, about 1 1/2 teaspoons (again, I didn't measure, I went by taste) of the pizza seasonings. Mix everything together, and then add your olive oil. One of these days I'll be a good little recipe writer and measure everything exactly, until then my best guesses will have to do. Add about 4-6 T of olive oil. You'll want it to look a little more "loose" at this point. Not liquid, but breaking down a little bit. Mix it all up, and taste it. You might need some salt & pepper, but I didn't. The pizza seasoning had enough flavor for me.

Use the bread to soak up the yummy, wet goodness of the sauce. I like to smear a bunch of it right on top of the bread. But, I have organizational issues, and I like everything nice and neat. So, don't listen to me.

Now, go try it and tell me what you think. In a short time, these mixes (the Dunford "add water/yeast" mixes) will be available for sale. Then, my friends, you won't have to be scared of making your own doughs, breads, crusts, focaccias anymore! You can do this while checking homework and playing hide-and-seek.
*This recipe can easily be made using a homemade bread dough. I make it both ways, with great success!

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