One of the benefits of colder weather is being able to enjoy baking bread again without fear of heating up the house too much. One of my favorite options of late involves making dough in my bread maker and baking it in a very hot oven in a cast iron skillet. The result is absolutely stunning focaccia. And while the recipe below offers a topping favored in my home, there are as many ways to top focaccia as there are ways to top a pizza!
Using a bread machine helps take a lot of the work out of making focaccia and gives you perfect rising conditions for your dough. If you don't have one, it's easy enough to do it by hand. One of the most approachable recipes I've used can be found on Bon Appetit. A cast iron skillet is ideal for the baking of the focaccia because it heats evenly and holds the heat beautifully for making this bread's color and texture downright perfect.
This bread is excellent as an accompaniment to pasta dishes, roasted meats, and even alongside a salad as part of a light lunch. Of course, this time of the year, my favorite way to have it is as a mop for my favorite soups and stews. Enjoy!
- 1 cup water
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 ½ cups all purpose flour
- 2 ¼ teaspoons yeast
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- 12 black olives, pits removed and sliced into rings
Pour the water, olive oil, and honey into the pan of a bread machine. Add the flour, yeast, and salt. Set the machine to the dough setting and start it.
Once the machine has run its cycle (about 1 ½ hours), place 2 tablespoons of olive oil in the bottom of a 10 inch cast iron skillet. Place the dough on top of the oil and use your hands to gently stretch the dough to the edges of the pan. Cover the dough again and let rest for 1 more hour.
Preheat the oven to 450° F.
Using your fingers, create small dimples in the focaccia dough. Sprinkle the top of the dough evenly with the cheese and olives.
Bake the dough for 20-30 minutes or until the focaccia is golden brown. Cool completely before removing from the skillet and slicing or tearing apart.
- Yields: 1 focaccia round
- Preparation Time: About 2 hours