I made this last night for my Bible study group. I was surprised at how easy it was to make, and how delicious it tasted. Since my Bible study group reads my blog, I thought I would post the recipes here so that they (and my other readers) can make this for their own homes.
Focaccia (makes 2 loaves)
Total time: 2 ½-3½ hours (1½–2½ hours rising time)
2 pkgs. fast-rising dry yeast
2 C tepid water (110 degrees)
2 TBS sugar
4 TBS olive oil
½ C salad oil
1 tsp table salt
5 ½ C unbleached white bread flour
2-3 cloves garlic, crushed
¼ C olive oil (herb-infused)
1 TBS rosemary
1 TBS kosher salt
2 TBS Parmesan cheese
Dissolve yeast in the tepid water. Add sugar, olive oil, salad oil, and table salt. Mix in 3 C of the flour and whip until the dough begins to leave the bowl (I use a wooden spoon for this; the dough doesn't seem to stick to wooden spoons). If you have a Kitchen Aid mixer, you probably want to use it for this step. If you whip the dough by hand, it will take about 10 minutes of constant, firm whipping.
Mix in the remaining flour by hand or with your mixer's dough hook. Knead the dough until it is smooth. Place the dough in a bowl, cover with a dishcloth or wax paper, and allow the dough to rise twice. Punch down the dough after each rising. Rising times will vary; I would allow 30-60 minutes for each rising.
Oil 2 cookie sheets, 11x17 size. Insulated or air-cushioned sheets work best, but are not necessary. Divide the dough in half and use your fingers to spread each half of dough out to the edges of the pans. Cover and allow the dough to rise for 30 minutes. Using your finger tips, lightly press down into the dough to create dimples over the entire surface. Mix up the topping ingredients and brush over the dough. Bake at 375 for 20-30 minutes.
Tomato, Garlic and Herb Dip
½ LB cherry tomatoes, diced
1 can peeled, petite diced tomatoes
2-3 cloves garlic, crushed
6 TBS olive oil, plain or herb-infused
1 TBS vinegar, plain or balsamic
2 TBS Italian seasoning, if using plain olive oil
Drain the fresh tomatoes in a strainer and place the strainer into a pot of boiling water. The water should just cover the tomatoes inside the strainer. Keep the tomatoes in the water just until tender, about 1-2 minutes. You do not want the tomatoes to be mushy. Drain off the excess water and place tomatoes in a medium-sized bowl.
Drain the canned tomatoes thoroughly and add to the fresh tomatoes. In a separate bowl, combine the garlic, olive oil, vinegar and spices. Slowly add the olive oil mixture to the tomatoes until the dip is the desired texture. You may need additional olive oil and vinegar, depending on your personal taste and preference.
Chill and use as a topping for focaccia bread, toss with your favorite cooked pasta, or in place of tomato sauce on your pizza (just add cheese to this mix, spread on dough, and bake according to dough directions). Enjoy!
* Focaccia recipe based on recipe found in “The Frugal Gourmet Cooks Italian” by Jeff Smith