I have been in the mood for a really good baked ricotta. So, when planning this meal I had to come up with the best bread to suit the ricotta cheese. Focaccia is it! Focaccia is a flat oven baked Italian style bread. An olive oil based bread (in most cases) it is tender, with a slightly flaky crust. It is perfect to be topped with Baked Ricotta.
I warn you though, home made bread of any kind is very hard to abstain from. Mr. W, Em and I have eaten about a 1/2 loaf a day, as it is so delicious. Thank goodness for balance the rest of the day.
I am making the Baked Ricotta for lunch today, to go with this fabulous bread and will post the recipe tomorrow.
Sun-Dried Tomato and Rosemary Focaccia Bread
2 1/4 teaspoons rapid-rising dry yeast
1 cup warm water
2 tablespoons sugar
3 to 3 1/2 cups flour
1 tablespoon coarse salt dissolved in 2 tablespoons of warm water
1/4 cup olive oil
Cornmeal, for dusting
2 tablespoons olive oil
sun-dried tomatoes (packed in olive oil)
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, add warm water. Then sprinkle in yeast and sugar. Swirl gently with your fingertips to dissolve the yeast and sugar. Let the mixture sit for 3 minutes, until foamy. With your mixer on low speed, slowly add 1/2 cup of flour at a time. Add salt water to the mixture. Pour in 1/4 cup olive oil. When the dough starts to come together, increase the speed to medium. Stop the machine periodically to scrape the dough off the hook. Mix until the dough smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes, adding flour as necessary.
Coat a 9x13 baking pan with olive oil and corn meal.
Turn out your dough onto the counter, once it is doubled in size. Roll dough out to a rectangle about 1/2-inch thick. Lay the flattened dough in the pan and press and stretch to the size of the pan. Cover with plastic wrap. Preheat oven to 400°. Let dough rest for 15 minutes.
Uncover the dough and dimple with the tip of the handle of a wooden spoon.
Brush the surface with more olive oil. Press the desired amount of sun-dried tomatoes into the dough and sprinkle with rosemary.
Bake on the bottom rack for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.
Remove from oven and allow to cool for 3 minutes, remove bread from pan and place on a cooling rack
(skipping this step will prevent you from having a crisp crust).
Allow to cool for 10 minutes before slicing. Serve immediately.
ALTERNATE OPTIONS: You can add rosemary and chopped sun-dried tomatoes to your dough in the mixer for a very flavorful bread.
Click here for a printable version of this recipe - The Slow Roasted Italian.com