Who loves bread? I do, I do!! Baking bread requires patience, but yields extremely satisfying results. I’ve done a pretty good job of giving up bread (I still have a slice or two here and there) but freshly baked homemade bread is irresistible to me.
Last week, I visited Stanford Mall in Palo Alto after spending a glorious afternoon on Stanford’s campus. A little market had an Olive Oil tasting room with hundreds of different flavours I’d never even heard of! Sigona’s Fresh Press Olive Oil has a long standing history of producing fresh pressed olive oil. Read about them here. As soon as I saw it, I knew what I needed to do: focaccia and dipping oil – best buddies. There were so many flavours to choose from. My sister, another olive oil fanatic sampled 4 or 5 oils from tiny plastic shot glasses (I couldn’t handle the oil without any bread!) In California, the olives are grown from late October through December, and they are picked and pressed within 2 – 6 hours! Fresh, indeed!
Can you believe how many choices there were?!
Having made focaccia bread only a handful of times before, I accidentally went heavy on the olive oil – turns out, it still tastes incredible! After the bread comes out of the oven, dip in flavoured olive oil! Try to share, although it won’t be easy! Do you love olive oil? Let me know what flavours you’ve tried by commenting below!
- 3 cups all purpose flour plus more for kneading
- ½ envelope yeast (1⅛ teaspoons)
- 1½ cup water (add more if needed)
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons regular olive oil
- 1 teaspoon sea salt plus ½ teaspoon for surface
- ½ tablespoon chili powder (optional)
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees
- In a large bowl, sift together flour, sugar, chili powder, sugar, 1 teaspoon of salt, and onion powder
- Mix yeast in 1 ½ cups of body temperature water, and let sit for 5 minutes
- Pour a ¼ cup of olive oil into dry ingredients and stir to combine. Slowly pour in yeast mixture until sticky dough is formed
- On a floured surface, knead the dough and add flour if dough is too sticky. Dough should not be sticky or elastic, just somewhere in between
- In the same large bowl that held the dry ingredients, coat the sides with 1½ tablespoons of olive oil, and rest the dough ball inside (try to coat the dough with the olive oil on the sides). Cover with a paper towel, and let rise for at least 20 minutes (preferably 60 minutes)
- Dough will double in size after 20 - 60 minutes. Punch down the dough and knead it in the bowl for 30 seconds, and let it rest once more for 20 - 40 minutes
- Find an 8 inch cake pan and brush olive oil inside it (or any other pan you choose)
- Using your fingers, press out the dough into the pan and let rise for 15 minutes
- Dimple the dough with your fingers, brush olive oil on the surface of the dough, sprinkle a ½ teaspoon of coarse sea salt, and bake in the preheated oven for 20 - 25 minutes