From time to time we like to feature products on the blog that we personally enjoy using. This is the first of three posts for the holidays featuring King Arthur Flour. My first introduction to this company was in the form of a baking catalogue that arrived in our mailbox when I was a teenager. You know when you flip through a toy catalogue as a kid and circle things you really want, and then circle AND put a star by the stuff you really, really want? That was me with this catalogue. Grocery stores in Buford, GA certainly did not carry these kind of ingredients in the nineties. I was in mail order heaven! And while I live on the west coast now, and grocery stores across the USA carry King Arthur Flour today; I still flip through that catalogue every time it comes and might even circle a few things.
Focaccia is a tasty alternative to plain rolls for your Thanksgiving spread. It also makes fantastic sandwiches with all those turkey leftovers. I used King Arthur’s all-purpose flour as well as some of their bread flour in this recipe to give it a nice chewy texture.
Focaccia is what I call a vehicle or carrier bread. The basic recipe is nothing more than flour, water, salt, yeast and olive oil. But you can add herbs and spices into the dough, as well as endless topping possibilities, which makes it really great for seasonal baking.
Once the dough has risen, just plop it right out onto your greased pan to begin shaping. I find it helpful to have my topping ingredients already prepped and ready to go.
To create all those nooks and crannies on the top of the dough, work out some holiday stress by repeatedly jabbing the dough with your fingertips. Oddly therapeutic. Also good for little hands eager to help.
Add your toppings and then pop into the oven.
Feed to your hungry guests and hide a few pieces to make killer leftover sandwiches later on. Happy baking!
Olive and Thyme Focaccia
Prep Time: 22 minutes
Inactive Time: 1 1/2 hours
Bake Time: 40 minutes
480 g. (2 cups) warm water
55 g. (1/4 cup) olive oil
12 g. (1 Tbsp.) instant dry yeast
3 g. (2 tsp.) dried thyme
240 g. (2 cups) King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour
420 g. (3 1/2 cups) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
6 g. (1 1/2 tsp.) kosher salt
213 g. ( 1 1/2 cups) Castelvetrano olives, cut in half
14 g. (1/4 cup) finely shredded Asiago cheese
olive oil for oiling pan and brushing top of focaccia
Place the water, olive oil, yeast, thyme and half the flour in the stainless steel mixing bowl of the Ankarsrum with the roller/scraper attachment. Turn the speed on to the lowest setting and then increase to medium (3 o’clock) until ingredients are thoroughly combined.
Add the rest of the flour and the salt and again begin on the lowest speed and then increase speed to medium-high (between 4 and 5 o’clock) until all the flour has been mixed in. Lock the roller about an inch away from the side of the bowl and set the timer for 8 minutes to knead on medium-high speed. Once kneaded, cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size.
Preheat oven to 400º F.
Punch dough down and turn out onto a greased half-sheet pan. Sprinkle the top with flour and begin stretching the dough until it covers the entire pan. Dock repeatedly with fingertips to achieve a dimpled surface. Press down olives into dough. Brush the top liberally with olive oil and then sprinkle with Asiago.
Bake for 40 minutes, until the top is golden brown. Let cool in the pan for five minutes and then remove to a wire rack to finish cooling.
Yield: 1 focaccia loaf, 16-20 servings