This is a spin on authentic foccacia but it's a great bread to serve with soups or stews. It is seasoned with garlic and dried herbs, then topped with grated Parmesan and mozzarella before baking. Leftovers make great croutons! You can also use it as a pizza base.
Quite simply put...wow! Left out garlic powder, because 1) it's not an authentic Italian ingredient (only fresh garlic is used in Italy) and 2) it would give an ersatz flavor. Doubled the basil and used milk for the liquid, to give a moister crumb. The result was a soft, perfectly chewy bread. Dimpled the dough deeply with my thumb after rolling out. Then, sprinkled the top liberally with chopped fresh rosemary leaves from the garden and lightly with coarse kosher salt, after painting with extra virgin olive oil. Then applied a mix of mozzarella, Parmigiano, and genuine imported Italian Asiago halfway through baking time so the cheese would not become overly brown. The result was ambrosia, a golden feast for the eyes and a delectable treat for the mouth. This is the real deal. Outstandingly simple and simply outstanding! To those who had trouble with the texture of the dough, either it's your yeast or your rising technique. Make sure to use only yeast that's new or that has been stored in the fridge/freezer. Also, do not dissolve in hot water, only lightly warm to the inside of your wrist. If the yeast has been stored in the freezer or is new, proofing is an unnecessary step. Proofing yeast does nothing magical like people think - it just "proves" that it's still good by bubbling. Do not allow the dough to overrise, (in other words, to rise so high that it sinks back down on itself) and ferment. Set a timer so that you don't forget to check on it. Light dough rises quickly. - 09 Jan 2008 (Review from Allrecipes US | Canada)
I read this recipe twice and wondered how on earth the dough was supposed to rise without proofing the yeast first, and then I read the reviews and found that it has been a problem for many people who have made the focaccia. ALWAYS proof your yeast! Just heat the water to 110 degrees and stir in the sugar, then dissolve the yeast and let the mixture sit ten minutes or until your yeast mixture is nice and foamy. Add the salt and oil, then your dry ingredients. My focaccia rose beautifully, but it definitely needs some salt in the topping. The next time I make it, I will sprinkle garlic salt before adding the mozzarella. This is a great recipe, it just needs to be a little more clear for the cook who isn't all that familiar with bread baking. Good luck! - 23 Aug 2005 (Review from Allrecipes US | Canada)
Great flavor, but the directions could use some help! I read some reviews that helped me. I proofed my yeast with the sugar and (115 degree) water first for 10 minutes, then added the salt, oil, and herbs (using fresh basil). Then I stirred in the flour (using one cup whole wheat flour, the rest unbleached white). Kneaded for about 5-6 minutes, and let rise for about 40 minutes. I then shaped the dough into a rectangle on a greased cookie sheet and let it rise for 30 more minutes. Then I brushed on my olive oil, and sprinkled on my parmesan cheese. Skipped the mozzarella, but I'm sure it's good that way too. Baked at 400 for about 20 minutes. Delicious!!! Served with Rich and Creamy Tomaoto Basil Soup from this site, and a layered lettuce salad. Beautiful! I had no problems with it not rising, and it tasted light and yummy, even with the whole wheat flour. - 29 Aug 2005 (Review from Allrecipes US | Canada)