Fontina Focaccia with Garlic Herb Oil

photo(92)
When I heard that the first Fiesta Friday challenge would involve yeast and herbs I was excited. In my mind, there are few things better than fresh warm bread and I love having a reason to experiment and try something new. I immediately knew I wanted to make a focaccia. I love the crunch bottom and sides and the fluffy soft inside.

I also really like baking cheeses into my breads and fontina seemed like a great choice for this Italian classic. The fontina adds a little saltiness and flavor without being overwhelming. However, I think the real star of this focaccia is the garlic and herb oil. The fresh herbs really bring this to life and well, I love garlic so a garlic infused oil is right up my alley. If you’re not such a garlic fan you can either use less or omit it.

I can’t wait to see what everyone else enters in the challenge. Click the badge below to see what’s been entered so far!
”Fiesta

Fontina Focaccia with Garlic Herb Oil

Dough
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 tablespoon dry active yeast
1 teaspoon salt
3 1/4 cups bread flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups Fontina cheese, grated or shredded

Garlic Herb Oil
2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup fresh parsley
6-8 fresh basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1. Begin by adding the water and yeast to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Let sit for about ten minutes, until it starts to get frothy. Add the flour and salt to the yeast and water and begin to combine on the lowest speed. Slowly drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil into the dough while it combines. Once the dough starts to form a ball, add 1 cup of the fontina and let it continue to combine until you have a sticky dough ball. Remove the dough and place it in a bowl. Cover the bowel with a clean towel and let it rise for an hour.

photo(98)

2. While the dough is rising, make the garlic herb oil. Peel and smash the two cloves of garlic and place them in a microwave safe bowl with the olive oil. Place the bowl in the microwave for 30 seconds. Put the oil, garlic, basil and parsley in a food processor and pulse until the herbs and garlic are in small pieces.

photo(96)

3. Once the dough has risen, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large baking dish. Place the dough in the dish and spread it out as best you can. Then turn the dough over so both sides get oiled and spread it out a little more. It’s fine if it doesn’t reach the edges of the bowl. Use your fingers to dimple the surface of the dough and drizzle the remaining tablespoon of olive oil on top.

photo(97)

4. Bake the bread at 400 for about 30 minutes. Then place the rest of the fontina cheese on top of the bread. Bake for another 5-10 minutes, until the top just starts to brown. Remove from the oven and brush the garlic herb oil on top. Enjoy!

photo(93)

 

No-Knead Sun Dried Tomato Focaccia

bread bread 6 foc

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
Dough:
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

Topping:
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

3. Combine the rest of the ingredients for the dough except the cheese, and beat at high speed with an electric mixer for 60 seconds dough

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!

dough26. While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 375°F and mix all of the ingredients for the topping in a small bowl

7. After rising, gently poke the dough all over with your index finger

8. Brush the topping onto the dough

9. Bake for about 35- 40 minutes, until it’s golden brownfoc