Many people have asked me what the difference between focaccia and pizza dough. The answer is simply not a whole heck of a lot. Besides the toppings a pizza has and the manner of preparation. Other than that, by all means you can even top this bread off with whatever toppings you like. Just think of it as a thick crust pizza pie. Shape the dough in whatever manner you desire as well. Focaccia can be rectangular, circular or whatever trips your trigger.
Rustic Italian Focaccia
Use your imagination when it comes to herbs. Sprinkle your favorite spices on top of the olive oil and top with some thin slices of cheese for a great side with a salad. Better yet, slice it in half horizontally and stuff with your favorite sandwich meats and cheeses.
1 package dry yeast
3 tablespoons honey or maple syrup
2 1/4 cups flour
2 tablespoons butter, melted
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons table salt
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon dried chives
1/2 teaspoon dried, crushed thyme
Cornmeal or extra flour
1 teaspoon sea or coarse salt
In a bowl, mix the yeast, honey and a cup warm water. Set aside while preparing rest of recipe for the yeast to dissolve. In a large bowl, combine flour, melted butter and table salt. With either a dough hook, mixer, stout spoon or your hands, add the yeast mixture into flour until incorporated.
Dust a work surface and empty bowl of dough. Knead for 3-4 minutes, flouring you hands or adding a touch more to the dough as needed, until dough feels elastic. Place in a bowl that has been lightly greased and cover with damp towel to rise until double in size, about 1 1/2 hours. Punch down, divide in half and flatten each ball into a rectangle with your hands on a floured work surface. The rectangles should be about 11 x 5-inches. Dust a baking sheet with cornmeal or extra flour and place each rectangle on top, leaving an inch or so between each rectangle.
In a small bowl, combine rosemary, chives, thyme and olive oil. Brush this flavored oil on top of each focaccia loaf, pressing the herbs into the loaf with a spoon or your fingers. Place in an oven that is not turned on to rise once again for 30 minutes. Remove from oven, preheat oven to 450-degrees F and bake 15-16 minutes or until lightly browned on top. Remove and drizzle with a little more olive oil and dust with coarse salt.