Let me start this off by saying I LOVE bread. I’m pretty sure I could live off of nothing but good bread and be a happy girl (ok maybe some tomatoes and cheese wouldn’t hurt either). As a kid, I remember going to the local bakery with my grandpa and sneakily breaking off bits of the crunchy crust and shoving them in my mouth on the way home. In college, I would make the inconvenient drive out to the Italian bakery on the other side of town just to get my fix. To this day, if I find a really good loaf it’s definitely not making it all the way back to my kitchen without me ripping off a piece and enjoying it on the way home.
So, you can imagine my dismay when I moved to D.C. and couldn’t find a decent bakery. Sure, there are tons of bakeries offering cupcakes (not that those aren’t great) but I couldn’t find a place that sold that a loaf of bread that was perfectly crusty on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside. Not to say such a place doesn’t exist, but I’ve been here over two years and still haven’t found it, so if you know of a place, let me know! I decided to take matters into my own hands and began to try baking my own bread. I’ll admit, at first I had my fair share of disappointing failures but then my mom suggested I look at King Arthur Flour’s website. She mentioned my Uncle Dave always liked them because they had tons of recipes and included comments from other people who have tried them. I checked out their site and the first one that caught my eye was a no-knead crusty bread – had they read my mind!? I tried it and it came out great. So I started trying more and more of their recipes and the results have been fanatastic. Today I’m sharing my version of their simple focaccia bread. I added some cheese, spices and sun dried tomatoes to mine. This bread is actually really simple to make, if you’ve ever though about trying to make your own bread but have been scared to try it, try this one!
No-Knead Sun Dried Tomato Focaccia adapted from King Arthur’s Blitz Bread: No-Fuss Focaccia
1 1/2 cups warm water
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
3 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 tablespoon instant yeast
4 teaspoons King Arthur Pizza Dough Flavor, optional
1/2 cup cheddar cheese cut into small chunks or shredded, optional
1/4 cup olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon dried oregano
sun dried tomatoes (however many you like)
1. Lightly grease a 9″ x 13″ pan, and drizzle 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil in the bottom
2. Combine the water and the yeast in the bowl of an electric mixer and let sit for about ten minutes
4. Add the cheese to the dough mixture and mix very slightly, until it’s just incorporated
5. Scoop the batter into the prepared pan, cover with a clean cloth and let it rise at room temperature for 60 minutes
**I’ve found that letting my covered dough rise in the microwave helps a great deal, it keeps out the draft from the air conditioning – just remember not to turn the microwave on while it’s in there!
7. After rising, gently poke the dough all over with your index finger
8. Brush the topping onto the dough