Focaccia

Try this fabulous Italian flat bread! Its etymology is “hearth bread,” because it was baked in the heart of the home. May I suggest it as an alternative to the standard Thanksgiving rolls? One traditional topping is rosemary–a perfect accompaniment to holiday fare. This recipe is adapted for ease from one in Marcella Hazan’s Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking:

1 package active dry yeast
2 cups lukewarm water
6 1/2 cups unbleached flour
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon salt

Dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup lukewarm water and let stand 10 minutes. Add remaining ingredients, except flour, and mix. Slowly add flour to create a sticky dough (stop adding flour before it becomes dry) and knead for 10 minutes. Place on an oiled half-sheet pan and cover with a damp cloth for an hour. Stretch out to the edges of the pan and cover again for an hour. Preheat oven to 450, brush with equal parts’ oil and water, and top before baking for about 25 to 30 minutes.

Toppings can include one or all of the following, among others, pressed into the dough:

coarse sea salt or fleur de sel
chopped rosemary or sage
chopped black olives

Truc (Tip): I prefer “breaking” the bread over slicing it, for a rustic presentation.

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